Divorce Surprise Party!

the way they leave you

My awesome hubs decided he’d throw me a surprise party for being such a kick-ass wife and mother to his babies. Except at this party, instead of punch and cake, there was more, like, crying and confusion and me asking ‘why does it feel like my soul is being ripped apart and set on fire?’

For gifts, he got me a lifetime supply of inequitable parenting work, emotional trauma, and an endless sense of injustice that I’m not aloud to voice to him. Oh, and a scarf. A really nice scarf.

There was even a surprise announcement that my husband had a new baby on the way! Not with me, you know. But hey, new baby!

And instead of music and friends, there was like this soundtrack of lies coming out of his mouth and a cavernous tomb of empty silence when he took his packed bag and left us stranded in a state with no family and no help.

But, you know. Other than that, it was super fun.

No surprise party like a surprise divorce partaaay! Woot woot!


And for spare parts, we’re broken up…

There are literally hundreds of gut-wrenching songs that I’ve ambled through in the last three years as I’ve processed what’s become of my life after Honey’s departure. Most are now attached to such acutely painful moments that I can no longer bear to hear them; they’re imprinted with too much suffering now.

But there is one song – literally only one – that I have never tired of. It is my anthem. It’s not a song that inspires or uplifts. It’s a song that just says ‘it is what it is’ in the most profoundly comforting way, even though that may not make sense to you initially upon hearing it. It merely acknowledges how messed up and unfair things are with no other pretext, and for whatever reason, that is exactly what I love about it the most.

It is best listened to, loud, with your full attention through a pair of good headphones. Oh, and because there’s this one teeny tiny other little issue, um…he says the F word, like, a bunch of times. If that’s not your cup of tea, please kindly move on. Nothing to see here!

Meaning of ‘Black Swan’: an unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically one with extreme consequences….


Please comment and let me know how you’re doing in your journey, and what you thought about Thom Yorke’s ‘Black Swan’. I’ve also got a break-up playlist you can peruse with lots of other gems. Click this link: Let’s Get Low.


Album Credit: The Eraser

Artist Credit: Thom Yorke (lead singer of Radiohead)


The HomeWrecker Games.

The HomeWrecker Games

And so it goes, my classy home-wrecking friend,
I’m here, late at night, checking out Facebook again.
I hope you’ve been practicing for ‘HomeWrecker of the Year’…
They don’t hand that title out to just anyone, my dear.

Let’s see. Wisdom about cheaters, or tacky stripper shoes?
(Not that you draw distinctions about whose is whose)
Let’s see if you can maybe get the judges attention:
Perhaps a meme about morals is something you could mention.


A good start, H Dubs! But award worthy? It is not.
You’re not gonna win until you find that sweet spot.
Just stay in your wheelhouse, and do what you do well.
Be ironic. Post crazy. Show ‘em you can’t spell.


Excellent form, HomeWrecker, pulling this from the back of the deck.
(And you can’t blame me for looking, your life’s a sordid wreck).
Plus, the winner’s never crowned on mere cruelty alone.
They need handwritten lovenotes from married men on your phone… (more…)

The Pros and Cons of the Increased Awareness of Narcissistic Abuse

Lessons From the End of a Marriage

Narcissism has gone from the relative anonymity of Latin mythology or the contents of the DSM to mainstream headlines. Much of this increased awareness is helpful to those who have been affected by narcissistic abuse, but there are some downsides to be aware of.

The PROS of the increased awareness about narcissistic abuse:


Helps You Find Your Community

“I’m not alone,” is usually the first response when somebody first finds others have a story as twisted and crazy-making as their own.

I know I felt that way. I was certainly no stranger to divorce when my ex left, but the template followed by other parting spouses was meaningless when applied to my ex. He not only disregarded the rules, he kept making up new ones at every turn.

I felt so alone. So isolated in my experience.

Until I first stumbled upon a community taking about sociopathic behavior. And I…

View original post 1,284 more words

With all due respect…

You know when someone says ‘with all due respect’…and then they follow it up with a comment that leaves you wondering how on earth that could ever be considered ‘respect’? On that note, I know this reader may not have wanted to sound condescending, but I just have to wonder how some of these questions could be taken any other way? Nonetheless, their questions appealed to me as great conversation starters, so here is my response to a recent comment made on one of my posts. Cheers!

As a preface, I don’t want to sound condescending. I have a few general inquiries about your situation, and would like to hear what you have to say about it.
I’ve read in your explanatory sections how, in hindsight, you would have done things differently, &co.
In your testimony about Honey, you said that he was previously married. You mentioned as well that you personally knew the estranged woman. I am assuming as well that you two had known each other for quite some time before that as well, judging by a passing reference of going on vacations together.
In another section, you also emphasized that you believe in the permanence of marriage.
So, my questions are:

What is it exactly that you regret?

I regret thinking that love meant unfettered trust without objective skepticism. I trusted Honey and every word he spoke. I trusted he had grounds for divorce from his cheating wife, and that his claims about her affair were true. It’s only now that I’ve learned he’s a pathological liar that those claims from so many years ago become suspect in my mind.

Was he telling the truth? If true, I still regret that I didn’t wait to date him until after his divorce was final. I was young and naïve, and felt entitled to because he had solid grounds for divorce. I should have waited regardless because it was inappropriate – something that could only be learned with time and maturity in my life and in my walk.

Was he lying? If a lie, I became an unwitting accomplice in his cheating and was the ‘other woman’. Will I ever know the answer to this? It’s unlikely.

I detail more about this in the post entitled HONEY.

Did the previous wife’s infidelity and subsequent divorce make it, in your view at the time, okay for him to leave her for you?

I saw Honey as the VICTIM. I didn’t see it as him leaving her for me at the time at all. Rather, I saw us getting together as a byproduct of what he’d presented as fact: his wife was cheating, admitted to loving this other man, but then minimized Honey’s feelings of betrayal and announced ‘well, we can just stay married I guess’, as though that was some great gift to him. When he walked out on her, I saw it as a pre-emptive strike against what was already coming, and his absolute right. Again, all of this on the presumption that what he said about her affair was true.

Do you still consider Honey yours even though you two have separated because of an infidelity?

No, I do not consider him ‘mine’ in any way. I divorced him and he is remarried. The honorable person I believed him to be was not real, so I mourn a figment of my imagination anyway. Furthermore, I would never tolerate that in a partner, and would divorce any partner if infidelity were confirmed because I believe cheating is about a lack of impulse control, poor character, and is abusive…and I would not knowingly subject myself to abuse in any relationship.

How far does permanence of marriage go for you? Do you believe sex before marriage is morally wrong as well?

I believe it’s permanent in that there’s no such thing as biblical grounds for ‘irreconcilable differences’. However, adultery and abuse are grounds, so I do not hesitate to counsel others that these abuses should not be tolerated under the guise of upholding their end of the marital covenant. Counsel, fix, and reconcile, or divorce…but never tolerate. And yes, I believe sex is designed to be best within marriage. The version of me from 20 years ago who was fine with living with a man is nothing but a memory. I have grown and changed in my lifetime due to my beliefs, and have been humbled by and learned from choices I’ve made in the past. I am abstinent by choice because of my beliefs and if by some miracle I ever felt inclined to get remarried, I would wait until marriage. This may not be for everybody, but it’s my personal decision. Would you also like to know the results of my last MRI or the contents of my private journal? I feel like there should be a 2-way mirror here and a chain-smoking cop with a plate of donuts.

Lastly, have you ever thought that this situation may be happening to you because of the decisions you made in the past concerning Honey? That you are reaping what you had sown? (Galatians 6:7-8) You’ve explained in great detail what Honey has done to you. I just wonder if you think about how you might be responsible for this as well? (In that, you will find the release you seek.)

If you are asking do I feel as though I’m getting what I deserve for trusting someone who turned out to be a pathological liar and sociopath with no empathy or remorse, the answer is no. But did I wonder about how I may have been responsible for this? Oh Lord, yes. I spent months lying in a heap sobbing, wracking my brain trying to figure out what I’d done to ‘cause’ this. So yes I did, but I don’t anymore. Because, you see, I learned that that kind of thinking is exactly the problem here. It’s called victim-blaming. It’s the same as asking ‘What did you do to cause your husband to beat you?’ We don’t compel people to abuse us, as Chump Lady says. No, I don’t believe in that notion at all. There is nothing a spouse could do to ‘cause’ someone to cheat on them, because cheating is about entitlement and selfishness. There are counselors and lawyers by the truckload on this block alone – take me to counseling, or divorce me. Be an adult and open your mouth and speak of your ‘unhappiness’. You do not have permission, no matter what type of spouse you think I am or am not, to abuse me.

But what I do seek to do is learn about where I missed the red flags, give myself grace for those failures, and to use that knowledge to empower me in the future. The goal of this site is to share this kind of story so other people victimized by these sub-humans will not go around blaming themselves for trusting their spouses, either. I also seek to empower similarly victimized people (who were victimized but who are NOT eternal victims) to flip the narrative on those who would shame or blame the victimized. For example, a person such as yourself suggesting that I should consider that I’m ‘reaping what I have sown’ either hasn’t read my story in its entirety, or has, but presumes that nice, innocent people don’t go around getting themselves cheated on and that I must have caused it somehow. Either way, I implore you to read on, or to go to Chump Lady for a rock-solid education about cheaters, or both. In that, I’m certain you will find the release that you seek.

With all due respect,


Filtered Messages.

Dear HomeWrecker,

Did you know there’s a folder inside of Facebook Messenger entitled ‘Filtered Requests’? First, you have to go to ‘People’, then inside of the ‘Message Requests’ folder there, you have to click on ‘Filtered Requests’. I had no idea such a sub-folder existed until April 25th of 2017. On that day, my thumb or finger or some combination thereof somehow tapped the correct buttons in the correct sequence as I grabbed my phone from my pocket. Concealed right under my nose on a phone that I touch every day were some very old and very revealing unread messages from you.

3 years, 2 months and 4 days after my husband walked out on me with zero warning, traumatizing me and our children in ways that I struggle to put words to even today, the universe saw fit to let me see those messages. In them, you claim to be trying to give me a ‘heads up’ that you had been sleeping with my husband. I finally understand why you’ve been making assertions that I ‘knew’. You assumed I got your messages. I did not.

Just a thought here, but if I were to send a series of messages to a woman with 2 little babies at home telling her I’d been secretly having sex with her spouse, I’d be pretty surprised by a lack of response. But here’s the thing: you weren’t. Or more to the point, you didn’t care if there was a response or not, because those messages were never about my well-being. They were for you. Your intent was not to alert me to the affair out of some benevolence on your part. It was to force the truth to come out, leaving Honey to have to choose between us.

And frankly, anyone who knows anything about horse racing would wisely bet on ‘Fresh New Sparkly Stripper Sex’, for the win, because ‘Post-Partum Stay at Home Mom in Yoga Pants with Baby Puke in Her Hair’ has much lower odds to place. You took a gamble that using me as leverage would pay off for you. Then, you took another gamble on the Night of 1,000 Horrors and faked a pregnancy scare once you realized things might not go your way.

You rigged the game. You CHEATED ON TOP OF CHEATING. And by the way, gambling with other people’s lives doesn’t make you edgy. It makes you disgraceful. (more…)

the caretaker.


This post ran previously in 2015

After Honey left, I took the babies and a moving Pod filled with whatever would fit, and we drove back to my home state to live with my parents. Just 18 days after moving in, a four year battle with my parent’s mortgage company resulted in a notice of foreclosure. It took another year for the process to be complete, so that’s how long we lived with them until I could form a long term plan for the kids and I.

When Mom found out the bank would eventually be taking her house, nothing about her routine changed. The massive yard, which was far too large for one person to maintain, was still where she spent most of her time each day. Weeding, mowing, fertilizing, trimming rose bushes and hedges, you name it. She’d taken this massive yard and turned it into a lush paradise brimming with color and life. Gardening was, and had always been, her very favorite thing.

As the day to vacate drew near, she was eventually forced to divide her time between the weeding and trimming and the packing and sorting. The heat of the summer was relentless, and even a day or two of neglect in the yard meant dead patches of grass and flowers.

I recall her exasperation at not being able to maintain it in the same way she always had. She was especially frazzled one day when she found a new patch of crunchy grass that had succumbed to the searing summer sun. She was bone-tired and often suffered intense back pain, yet there I would find her day after day. I tried to soothe her, but it wasn’t working. Quietly, I said ‘Mom, the bank takes the house in a couple of weeks. Why don’t you just…let it go?’ She immediately shook her head, and with deep resolve, said ‘Well until they do, this is my job. I can’t just let the yard go. I’m the caretaker of this property.”

At the time, it seemed no different than if she’d just told me she was planning to wallpaper the kitchen while the house was on fire. There was a sort of sad futility there that I could see and sense and understand, but that appeared to be completely lost on her. Once the bank took the house, it would very likely sit vacant for a considerable length of time, and the colorful grounds would soon be nothing more than a sea of dead brown straw. Her efforts would all be in vain. Her years of hard word would be nothing more than chaff in the wind. Your job is over, mom. Put down the pruning shears and walk away. (more…)

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A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Shannon Lell

When we are our authentic selves, we give others the unspoken permission to be the same. In Truth, there is freedom.


Leave a cheater, gain a life

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