CHUMP LADY in OZ: Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life

Tracy Schorn

CHUMP LADY in OZ: Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life
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Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life: A day with Tracy Schorn (AKA CHUMP LADY) 

  • This one-day, enlightening and entertaining class is an absolute MUST for anyone who works with couples and individuals impacted by infidelity. 
  • It is also an absolute MUST for anyone in a relationship impacted by infidelity - yesterday, today or tomorrow.

Session 1: Intro to the Chump Experience - how Tracy came to do this and why she thinks it’s needed.

Session 2: The Reconciliation Industrial Complex - debunking the common Infidelity and Reconciliation narratives and why they are so damaging and often, nonsensical. Myth busting monogamy and evolution arguments for infidelity.

Session 3: What the mental health and counselling profession could do differently - Therapeutic models that allow for character disorder; Empower and rebuild: collated from the feedback of thousands. 

Session 4: Gain a Life — book reading, Q&A, debate.

Discounts available for groups of 3+ people and not for profit organisations.

Please note, CHUMP LADY has asked that a donation to a local Domestic Violence refuge receive a donation in lieu of her being paid to present.

The context

Infidelity is as constant as death and taxes and that is a fact. As a consequence, betrayed partners are a demographic that sadly regenerates itself day-by-day and will be with us always. When the internet and social media arrived, so did a multitude of avenues for infidelity - taking it way beyond the traditional dominion of the workplace or social circle.  

According to Bloomberg Businessweek:


“It's not easy to get a handle on the size of the fling economy. The Internet dating market is worth $1 billion to $1.5 billion in the U.S., according to industry website Online Dating Insider, and some portion of that, from 10 percent to 30 percent, depending on whom you ask, involves people who are already in relationships.”


All those millions of members (“in a relationship/it’s complicated…") have partners. All those millions spent came from shared marital assets - household budget, inheritance, or retirement accounts. All that popularity has untold costs – legions of betrayed partners being created every day.

In addition to the technological ease with which you can have an affair (Ashley Madison alone claims 22 million members worldwide), the popularity of literature touting the unnaturalness of monogamy continues to grow and feed the illicit beast.

Finally, a growing culture of self obsession and narcissist chic e.g. edgy articles exulting the virtues of being a mistress and online forums on how to cheat and get away with it.

These form a trifecta punch that emphasises the fabulous at the expense of the betrayed.

It sucks.

What help is available after infidelity?

  • An outdated therapy model that works from “I’m okay, you’re okay, we all brought issues to the marriage.”
  • An outdated therapy model that doesn’t recognise personality or character disorders as they relate to infidelity.
  • A culture or religious tradition that disapproves of divorce under any circumstance. 
  • A cultural or therapy bias that promotes “saving marriages” at any cost, whatever the state of that marriage.
  • A predatory online community of “therapists” who will sell you tools to “affair proof” your marriage or save it single-handedly. (Mort Fertel, Michele Weiner-Davis, Andrew Marshall). Who also believe that you should court back your cheater with gifts (Fertel, Marshall, and others) and “make the marriage a good place to be” (Weiner-Davis) after discovery. 
  • Large online infidelity forums predicated on reconciliation (Talk About Marriage, Surviving Infidelity, Marriage Builders, Beyond Affairs Network).
  • Infidelity Reconciliation Literature written mostly by therapists, that work from the assumption that reconciliation is the default and desired outcome. They divide along the lines of how much fault for the affair(s) they lay on the betrayed partner and the “unmet needs” in the marriage. 
  • Infidelity Reconciliation Literature, written mostly by therapists, that take a sad sausage approach to cheaters and focus on what “compelled” them to cheat, and ask if their partner is measuring up (e.g. After the Affair by Janis A. Spring; When Good People Have Affairs by Mira Kirshenbaum; I Love You, But I Don’t Trust You also by Mira Kirshenbaum; My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me by Anne Bercht.
  • Other popular titles lay the blame for infidelity on the unnaturalness of monogamy: The Monogamy Myth: A Personal Handbook for Recovering from Affairs, by Peggy Vaughan; Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel; The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love, and the Reality of Cheating by Eric Anderson 

It truly SUCKS..

 

CHUMP LADY: A Fresh Voice, an Important Message

CHUMP [chuhmp]

Noun

1. Someone who has been cheated on. You’re not part of the Smug Unknowing class, untouched by infidelity. You’re a chump. You got played. 

2. Informal: a gullible idiot

"Don't be a chump". 

When chumps wash up on the shores of ChumpLady.com, from the U.S., UK, Pakistan, West Africa, South Africa, Australia, the Netherlands, India, Germany, Sweden, France and beyond, they are tired and thirsty for something different...

Chump Lady is a voice that speaks to them with a new message about infidelity. This new voice says: “You know what? Maybe this isn’t the relationship for you. Without trust this marriage isn’t sustainable.” Or, “It’s okay to lay this burden down and leave. The cheating isn’t your fault. You’re going to be better on the other side of this crap.”

The motto of ChumpLady.com is “Leave a cheater, gain a life.” Tracy believes losing a remorseless cheater is addition by subtraction and motivates chumps to set boundaries by getting angry, finding the absurdity, and recognizing manipulation tactics of cheaters. Leaving is the first part. Gaining a life is next. Tracy advises her community to work toward feelings of “meh” about the cheater and to take the rotten experience of infidelity and let it become a catalyst to a better life.

The experience of being chumped cuts across class, race, gender, orientation, and cultural lines. The message of Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life is a funny, smart, and practical field guide of the infidelity terrain that will appeal to all manner of chumps, in every stage of discovery – those who just found out, those who tried reconciliation for years, are divorcing, are in limbo, or were abandoned, those married to serial cheaters, the one-night stand, the emotional affairs. It’s for anyone who questions if people who disrespect you can really love you.

What makes CHUMP LADY different?

  • Chump Lady's work is the only resource available in print and online that is chump-centric, that addresses the experience of being betrayed, and asks questions that are independent of What The Cheater Wants: Is this relationship acceptable to you? How are you going to protect yourself?
  • In the experience of hundreds of thousands of people who read ChumpLady.com, the site is the only infidelity resource that is not predicated on reconciliation. To date, the blog has had over 16.5 million views and no one can point to another site like it. Chump Lady is not just for women. The narrative voice is gender and orientation neutral and the ChumpLady.com has a robust LGBT readership. About a third of the commentators on the site are men. 
  • While Chump Lady is not anti-reconciliation, she is highly skeptical of its long-term success and does not advocate for it as the default position after discovery. She preaches “sorry is as sorry does,” provides a taxonomy of remorse, and advises people who are keen on reconciliation to only do so with demonstrable acts and with financial and legal protections in place.
  • Chump Lady argues that affairs are based in entitlement and reconciliation is based in humility. It’s a tall order to expect that someone mired in entitlement (an affair) will come out of the starting gate with humility. Chump Lady is for those people who have the common experience of not having a remorseful spouse, and who don’t know where to go next. 


Infidelity and Character Disorder
While Chump Lady does not make the argument that everyone who cheats has a personality disorder, she does believe that cheating is narcissistic—to pull it off you have to stifle empathy for your partner. (Lack of empathy being a hallmark of narcissism).

Chump Lady offers similar advice to that of Authors who deal with narcissistic abuse or character disorder: pay attention to actions over words, look for manipulation, and realise that how this person is behaving is the clue to their character. 

Similar titles about manipulation and narcissistic abuse include:
In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People by George K. Simon Ph.D. (Parkhurst Brothers, 2010)
Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft (Berkley Books, 2003)
Assholes: A Theory by Aaron James (Anchor, 2014)

What Chump Lady shares with these authors is the worldview that some people have a different moral framework than we have. Some people are cons. Some people are just selfish jerks. And if you believe in a one-size-fits-all view of humanity, you just may be chumped.

 


About CHUMP LADY - the person!

What happens when cheaters meet journalistic skepticism and the poison pen of a seasoned cartoonist? You get Tracy Schorn, the Chump Lady. 

  1. Chump cred. Tracy was married to a serial cheater and speaks with all the authority of someone who once woke up in bed with another woman’s thong stuck to her. Unlike an earnest academic or therapist, she is compassionate in a way only someone who has been through the meat grinder of infidelity can be. Tracy has done all the grief-stricken, idiotic things a chump does when confronted with infidelity and lived through the devastation. She can laugh about it now and also get righteously angry for other people going through it today. She makes gullibility okay, because she did it too. And like a good friend, if you ever do this? Chump Lady will bitchslap you. 
  2. Analytical chops. Tracy has spent over 20 years in publishing, academic publishing (managing editor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy) in her earlier career and journalism (newspaper editor, reporter, and freelance writer) in her later career. She is currently the staff writer at the District of Columbia Bar Association. (The second largest Bar association in the U.S. with over 100K attorneys). She has degrees from Kalamazoo College, the London School of Economics, and a (useless) Master’s degree in southern African history from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies. (Tracy has studied with African Marxists, which is more relevant to infidelity than you might think, and has no problem asking sticky questions or analyzing subtexts.)
  3. Pure, unbridled snark. Infidelity provides a deep vein of humor because of the narcissism and pomposity inherent in cheating. The material writes itself, as exemplified by these gems from the “Stupid Shit Cheaters Say” feature on Chumplady.com:
    - “I didn’t cheat on you. I cheated on your belief that I would not cheat on you.”
    - “I wasn’t buying sex from strippers. I was buying self-esteem… You spend money on things you don’t need!”
    - “You’re a liberal. I thought you’d be okay with it.”
    - “She’s not my mistress. She’s my confidante at the gym.”
    - “It’s not cheating if it’s prostitutes.”
    - “You were so cold, that’s why I couldn’t divorce you.”
    - “You’d like him, he’s a lot like you.”

  4. Chump Lady can draw! Tracy is either a journalist who can draw, or a cartoonist who needed a paying job. She has always drawn cartoons to understand things that perplexed her and as a young mother baffled by motherhood, she worked as a cartoonist for Brain, Child magazine. When infidelity happened years later, Tracy’s pen was ready to capture her journey through the rabbit hole—ego kibbles, the humiliating dance of pick me, Stupid Shit Cheaters Say. She sends a message of hope (and a healthy dose of hilarity) from the other side of the horror story, and also collects success stories from the online community to encourage chumps to leave. Tracy not only survived, she thrived. She believes the majority of people who leave cheaters are just like her—infinitely happier for it.
  5. Tracy work has been recommended by mental health professionals. Her work has been cited in the Associated Press, Huffington Post, and elsewhere, and cited with admiration by Dr. George Simon (www.manipulative-people.com ) and Dr. Leah Klungness (author of The Complete Single Mother); Dr. Harriet Lerner, (best-selling author of Dance of Anger). She’s been an invited guest speaker at the University of Texas department of Psychology as well as a speaker at infidelity and legal panels in the U.S.

About CHUMP LADY - the blog, the network, the readers and followers!

  • Tracy Schorn’s blog Chump Lady, and her book Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life stands alone as the only infidelity resources that argues, “Leave the jerk. You’ll be a lot happier for it.” Until Tracy began the blog in 2012, the entire self-help field on infidelity assumed reconciliation, and worse, peddled chump blame, asking the betrayed party what they did to drive their cheaters to cheat. 
  • Instead of dry, earnest advice on how to single-handedly save marriages, Chump Lady is about saving your sanity after you’ve been cheated on. It’s about how to pick yourself up off the floor, take your power back, and put the focus on yourself and off the cheater’s chaos. 
  • In the infidelity literature, cheaters get all the attention - their sad unmet needs, their boundary issues, their relationship drama with their love triangles (or dodecahedrons). Cheaters are glamorous taboo breakers, star-crossed lovers, rebels against the hegemonic forces of monogamy. The chump stands alone, off-stage. When mentioned in the infidelity literature, it’s to discuss their frailties and failings, how they must “own their part” in their partners’ infidelity, or how they must accommodate the cheater.
  • Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life, by contrast, is a book for chumps, written by a former chump. It’s a resource that doesn’t assume reconciliation and doesn’t buy the notion that we compel people to cheat on us by our inadequacies (or can win them back by being nicer). Instead it puts responsibility for affairs squarely on cheaters and their crappy character. It also has a good time lampooning the absurd narcissism of cheating.
  • Chump Lady helps chumps decode manipulation, champions self respect, and focuses on “gaining a life” after infidelity. 


ChumpLady.com Stats

  • The blog has received over 16.5 million page views in 5 years.
  • The blog led to a book deal with a Big 5 publisher (Hachette), Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life – The Chump Lady’s Survival Guide (2016). Tracy is represented by the Carol Mann agency in New York, NY. 
  • The success of the book and blog, in turn led to the book being optioned for a scripted TV series with CBS-TV in 2017. For television, Tracy is represented by Paradigm Talent in Beverly Hill, CA. 
  • An engaged readership. Each post receives between 100 to 300 comments per day. 
  • An average readership at present of around 17,000 page views daily
  • Currently receives around 500,000 page views a month
  • Was recognized by Babble, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Co. as one of the “Top 10 Relationship Bloggers of 2013.”
  • Tracy was invited to write for the Huffington Post when the blog was only three months old. 
  • Has inspired multiple “chump” meet-up groups in major cities in the U.S, and around the world. 
  • Readers have translated Chump Lady articles into Greek, Dutch, Slovak, and Afrikaans.

From the mouths of CHUMPS

“Thanks for your help. Sounds lame. But I'm still clutching my one-way ticket far away from Chumpville & your words saved me. Thank you.” - Lucy

“Thank you so much for everything you do on this site. I'm sitting in the dark bawling my eyes out because my husband of 10 years told me about the other woman today. I've supported him through his career in the military, stuck by him through three year-long deployments to Iraq, and stayed home with the kids, giving up my chance at a career as I moved all over the world wherever he was stationed. I’m devastated. I felt so alone all day and didn't know what to do, but your blog has helped me to see that this isn't my fault. I hope I can get over this, it seems like a long road ahead, but you've given me the fuel to keep driving on. Thank you.” – RNE

“I just wanted to thank you for helping me through one of the most difficult times of my life.  Without your blog and the help it provided to me, I'm not sure I would have made it.  I know that sounds kind of hysterical but in the early days I was shattered and I didn't know what to do.  I did act quickly in getting a lawyer and yes, I got him out quickly but honestly, I was filled with doubt, fear and self-loathing.  I was a wreck.  I searched for help and luckily, found your site.  It has been a huge part of my healing.” – Nancy

“I found some reconciliation sites which were making me feel more miserable as my husband was utterly flippant and remorseless.  When I stumbled onto your site I felt a gigantic wave of anguish lift off me after reading only a couple of posts.  It was amazing and I got out of bed for the first time in 24 hours and built a fire and read all the key posts repeatedly… This blog [has done] more to build my resolve and help me grasp my situation and, more importantly, what to do about it than anything else. It has been my lifeline. – Caroline

“[What] helped me the most was how you look into the psychology of what each party is thinking and empowering those who feel helpless. You explained my ex to a T as she used any path that she could to try and sway me into staying with her. You also picked apart my own thoughts including how I spackled, felt like I’d never love again, and how I felt paralyzed… Many nights I’d look in your archives and read an entire months worth of writing to try and make sense of how I was feeling. Now I read still your articles, but each day I feel better and better. Thank you!” - Jake








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