Divorcing a Narcissist (One Mom’s Battle)

Divorcing a Narcissist (One Mom’s Battle)

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History of One Mom’s Battle (OMB):

In 2011, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother (Tina Swithin) navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth with over 100-chapters in five different countries. In 2014, One Mom’s Battle achieved non-profit status which will allow the group to take their mission to the next level.

Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children. The second portion of the OMB mission is to provide support, education and guidance to parents who are dedicated to protecting their child(ren) from a personality disordered individual. Initially, this is happening on our OMB Facebook page which is a public community of over 15,000 men and women who have been affected by the system. This page is not a private group because we at OMB feel that this issue has been kept private for far too long.

If your group supports both men and women, why is it called, “One Mom’s Battle”? 

When Tina Swithin started her blog and Facebook page, she never imagine that others would be interested in her journey. Her blog began so her friends and family members could follow her plight through the Family Court System. She had no idea that so many other people dealt with Cluster B personality disorders resulting in a high conflict divorce, and that her blog and page would become a primary resource for so many people. She was truly just documenting her journey as a mother fighting to protect her children. The symbol of One Mom’s Battle is important to her because it was personal and individual when she felt very alone – similar to David battling Goliath. Since then, it has morphed into something much, much broader and is helping to make systematic changes in court systems all over the U.S. and other countries. The Administrators at OMB try their very best to be gender inclusive, welcoming men just as much as women in their battles with Cluster B individuals. Our focus is firmly upon protecting CHILDREN, not protecting mothers and not protecting fathers. We count on everyone in our “village” to notify us if a comment or thread is unnecessarily skeptical or attacking. We want everyone dealing with a Cluster B parent to experience this as a safe place for support and guidance. While this began as one mother’s battle, it has turned into a village of education, love and support. We are all in this battle together.

What is a Cluster B Personality Disorder?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is used by clinicians for the diagnosis of mental disorders. Cluster B contains 4 personality disorders. One of them is not pertinent to OMB (histrionic) but the other three are and one or a mixture of them is what most people with a “narcissistic” ex actually have. The three disorders that we commonly deal with are: Borderline Personality Disorder much more common with females than with males, Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder, much more common in males than in females. With each of these three Cluster B disorders, there is a pronounced lack of empathy, repeated testing of laws, rules, and personal boundaries, much manipulation to meet their own needs which can fluctuate with their mood states, and sometimes fraud and other criminal activities. There is often high comorbidity with substance abuse and other forms of mental disorders.

The OMB Blog:

To read Tina’s story, click here

When Tina’s battle came to an end in 2013, she held a contest to find the “New Face of One Mom’s Battle” and out of numerous applicants, Tina chose an inspirational woman by the name of Lucy K. Wright to share her story with the world. Follow Lucy’s journey growing up with a narcissistic father through her battle in the court system in an effort to protect her children from her narcissistic (ex) husband. To read Lucy’s story, click here.

“My mission at One Mom’s Battle is fueled by the vulnerable children who are deserving of a normal, healthy childhood. The courts need to stop focusing on Mother’s Rights and Father’s Rights – a parent should not have rights simply because they have the ability to procreate. That is ludicrous and barbaric. A child’s right to be safe, loved and nurtured should supersede the rights of their parents. The Family Court System needs a complete overhaul. It should not be this difficult to protect a child. The Family Court System is failing our children and our families.”  -Tina Swithin, OMB Board President

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“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.

The Narcissistic, the Teen and the Car

The Narcissistic, the Teen and the Car

The Narcissist- Buying our children... by Lucy K. Wright

My daughter was given driving lessons by her Narcissistic father as one of many (many) gifts from him over the holidays. He registered her for the classes in advance, no communication with me, with some classes occurring during my parenting time.

Surprise? The gift, Yes. The lack of communication and/or coordination with me on this milestone of an event in our daughter’s life? No. I would expect nothing other from him at this point.

My daughter was sooooo excited for driving classes, and is now soooo excited to be at this glorious almost-ready-for-her-permit eager teen age.

I’m very excited for my daughter too. Driving? Yeah, I’m a little nervous. Ok, a lot. I probably would have recommended we hold off on the lessons – until summer at least – but, well, I wasn’t asked.

The ExN wants the glory of being the cool Disney dad who gives his daughter driving lessons first, despite any recommendations “her mother” could ever think or suggest.

——-

Three weekends of completed driving lessons for the teen are now over.   Check.

And then this conversation occurred:

“Mom, dad said he is going to buy me a car, the really cool one that I want.”

“Really honey? That’s very thoughtful of your father. And very lucky for you too.”

“Yeah, he said he will buy me a car, but it can only be driven at his house. It’s not allowed at your house.”

“I’m sorry, What??”

“Dad said I can only drive the car he gets me when I’m with him. When I’m with you the car has to stay at his home. If I drive it to school I will have to take it back to his home first, and he will bring me back to yours if I’m with you that night. He said I’ll never be allowed to have the car he buys me around you at all.”

Seriously. I was dumbstruck.

I looked my daughter in the eyes and told her that plan was the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.   (I don’t know if I should have said that out loud to her or not, but the words came out of my mouth faster than I could control at that moment.)

I told her it would seem to make more sense if her father and I worked something out so she would have ONE car that she could drive to either home, or wherever she needed to go, since it was going to be HER car after-all.

She replied, “Mom, you know that would never happen with dad, so why even waste your time thinking about it.”

She is 100% correct.   My daughter is a very smart young woman.

I know her father’s twisted Narcissistic way of thinking far too well: His brand new shiny fun gift of a car is going to look a heck of a lot better to our daughter than the century-old one she is going to have to work to pay half for at my home when the time comes….

And then he’ll think: Maybe, by giving our daughter another expensive new “thing” at his home, she will want to live with him full time!… and then he can quit paying child support!… and maybe our daughter will forget she even has “a mother” and he will never have to deal with me again… ever!!…!!

I can hear his twisted thoughts in my head right now.

And I believe his Narcissistic way of thinking on this one is going to prove him wrong. Even though you could certainly never tell him that.

My counselors throughout the years have consistently told me that my kids “will eventually understand” all of this someday. It may be when they are in their mid-20’s, or even early-30’s or later, but someday, they will understand.

It hasn’t always been an easy road for my kids since the divorce, and in fact, it’s been downright horrible for them at times, especially when I hit my lowest points while still trying to maintain balance and the strength from within myself to keep the conflict to a minimum and shield them from the toxic situation.

——-

Would my daughter like to pick out a fun new car for her 16th birthday? Of course she would. Who wouldn’t at that age.

But I also know, that she knows, and is truly beginning to understand, the differences between her father’s home versus mine. I am not claiming that things are all “right” at one home, and all “wrong” at the other; but there are certainly a lot of distinctions in lifestyles, and parenting styles, when you are a child of divorce, being raised by one Narcissistic parent.

I know because I was that child once also.

It’s taken me many years “to eventually understand” throughout my own journey in this long post-divorce process.

For instance, I now know that dazzling Disney dad isn’t necessarily always going to come out ahead in the end like he thinks he might.

Vroom!

~LLS~ Lucy K.

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“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.

The Lemonade Club, Tina Swithin’s private forum is now live! Seeking a place to share, connect and find help during your custody battle with a narcissist?  TLC is the answer and is now accepting applications – the group will be limited to the first 250 approved applicants.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

 

Gratitude in this New Year: Go Forward and Choose You!

Gratitude in this New Year: Go Forward and Choose You!

NPD Survivorby Lucy K. Wright

It’s January of a New Year – 2016!

No matter where you are in the process of getting away from your Ex Narcissist – from realizing the situation you are in is not ok – to reading, researching and discovering resources such as OMB and understanding that you are not alone in this battle, there is support – to starting a divorce process – to “finalizing” a divorce process – and to looking at the calendar, years later, as you realize your divorce will never be “final” because you married a Narcissist in the first place. Your battle with the ExN continues no matter how much you wish he would get a life, move on, and quit the legal, emotional, financial, and more often than not, crazy nonsense that only he knows best how to continuously create.

Give yourself a pat on the back.

You’ve come this far baby, and although some days are still tougher than you could ever imagine, you can, and you must, choose to keep moving forward.

No matter where you are in this process, you need to take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back.

Because you made the choice to change. The choice for a new beginning. And the choice to move forward.

You are a survivor.

———-

The anniversary date of my divorce from the Ex Narcissist is quickly approaching,

And, almost a decade later of being divorced from him, thankfully, I am astonished by the triggers that, on occasion, still haunt me from my past.

Not long ago I attended my daughter’s Middle School orientation. She was a nervous wreck knowing that her father and I were going to be in the same building together, let alone several of the same classrooms during the teacher introductory sessions.

I told her that I would be fine, that I could take care of myself and I would see her in the classrooms. And I noticeably did just that, smile on my face all evening, saying hello to people I knew in the hallways and introducing myself to others I hadn’t yet met.

What I did not tell my daughter was that deep inside, I was battling my own battle, feeling a little queasy, my heart pounding just a little faster than normal, knowing how important it was for me to keep my cool that evening; to be in control, be confident, smile, and most importantly, ignore Him as much as I could. I hate him. I’m generally a positive, see-the-good in people type person, and I don’t like to hate, or even really use that word. But for him, and the years of abuse he put me through then, and tries to continue with now, I just can’t think of any other word to use.

My daughter was uncertain, and battling her own inward battles that evening as she felt that if she did not hang out with her (Narcissistic) father, she would let him down, and he would be mad at her. It was an emotionally demanding evening for her, before the evening even started.

She quickly figured out a plan that made her feel better, and gave her some control herself of a difficult situation between her parents; she could walk with me in the hallways, in-between classes, and then sit with him in each of the classrooms. I reassured her I was fine, and to do whatever she was most comfortable with; I knew the pressure she was under trying to constantly live up to his unrealistic standards every day, and be the “perfect” daughter.

She ended up handling the evening very well.

I was very proud of her.

And I was very proud of myself that night also.

———

I saw a woman at the school orientation that evening whom I had not seen in years; a woman who I was once very close during a very difficult time in my life. She was a friend and confidant to me during the beginning stages of my divorce; she currently still is the wife of my ExN’s good friend.

She knew everything I was going through with the ExN many years ago. She used to listen to me, help me, and offer advice. I considered her a true and genuine friend.

As the divorce and ugly battle continued, I interacted less and less with this friend as her return communications became nonexistent.  My ExN was very close with her husband; her husband who I knew was not a very nice husband to her at times either.   She was considering leaving him at one point; she told me that in confidence.  I listened to her also, helped, and offered advice as I could and a friend would do.  She said she was afraid. But ultimately she decided to stay.  She said she was not only afraid of his anger and control, but her husband, my ExN’s good friend, had a lot of money. She said she was afraid of being on her own, and not ever again having the lifestyle she was used to living. She said she had learned to turn a blind-eye to his anger because for the most part, things were “easy” for her; as long as she did what her N-husband wanted her to do.

I crossed paths with this former friend three times in the hallways in-between middle school classes that evening.  I’m not sure if she saw me or not, as the hallways were packed and movements hurried with anxious parents students.

My friend looked fantastic.

As long as I have known her, she always looked fantastic; from her dress, to her beautiful hair and makeup, to the smile she always put on her face, no matter what was really going on on the inside. She hadn’t aged one bit since I saw her last, almost a decade ago.

——-

Triggers.

You never know when they are going to occur.

——–

Attending my daughter’s middle school orientation was a very emotional evening for me. Not only because I once again realized how fast life happens; as I looked at my beautiful daughter and remembered when I was at her kindergarten orientation, which seems not that long ago…

But it was emotional for me because I faced something from my abusive past that night – the past life with my ExN.

Sitting near him in each classroom was a true accomplishment for me. That might seem a silly trivial statement for some people, but not for me. For me, and from being where I was with him before, to where I am not with him now, and, after overcoming my initial anxieties to not caring for the first time that he was five feet away me that evening in the same room – it was truly a huge accomplishment.  That felt good!

Seeing my friend again in the hallways in-between classes– after so many years – was tough.   She was a trigger for me. She was a trigger of my past, remembering that time in my life; confiding my deepest secrets and fears to her; and how I had no idea the landmine I was about to encounter with my ExN as I first filed for a restraining order, and eventually for a divorce.   She knew most everything in my dealings with the ExN.  She knew he was mean, and abusive; deep down she knew he was not unlike her own husband, with whom she chose to stay.

For whatever reason – I can speculate a few – as I started going through the beginning of the divorce proceedings, my friend was gone. She disappeared, and we never spoke again.

——–

I snuggled up closely to my husband later that night after orientation was over. I told him what an emotionally tough evening it had been for me. And I also told him how accomplished, and how proud on the inside I felt. Seeing my daughter enter this stage of her young, brilliant life, and experiencing what I did myself that evening… it all made me realize even more how far I have come in my life over these past difficult years in dealing with the ExN.

I am a survivor of domestic abuse.  I am not the person I used to be.   And through years of self-doubt and lack of self-confidence, I am finally admitting and being proud of myself for being where I am in my life today.

I am proud of my daughter for handling that evening as bravely and as gracefully as she did.

I am sad for my friend, walking around the school halls with the husband she used to tell me she was afraid of; but that night, still with him. I can only hope that things have changed for her, for the better.  I will probably never know, but I wish her well.

I am grateful for my husband.  He may not ever understand what triggers me at times, but he “understands” me, and is supportive as I continue to move forward, learn and try to understand the past abuse from my father, and my ExN.

——-

In gratitude, happiness, and continuing to move forward – baby steps – no matter where you are in your process… you’re come this far.

Pat yourself on the back.

This is a brand new year.

~LLS~ Lucy K.

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“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.

The Lemonade Club, Tina Swithin’s private forum is now live! Seeking a place to share, connect and find help during your custody battle with a narcissist?  TLC is the answer and is now accepting applications – the group will be limited to the first 250 approved applicants.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

A Cluster B Disordered Court

A Cluster B Disordered Court

OMB Tby Lorrie Eubanks

As a One Mom’s Battle Administrator I often advocate for the healthy parent who is battling a Cluster B Disordered ex.  These parents who write in for help are often victims of abuse, sometimes physical, sometimes sexual, almost always emotional.  Emotional or Mental abuse is not always cut and dry.  Rarely do the courts care about or choose to believe a victim of emotional abuse.  Abuse is abuse, in my eyes, and it is domestic violence.  It may not be easy to document, however I know when I see it.  Maybe it’s easy for me to spot because I am a survivor of emotional abuse.  Perhaps it is because I speak to victims every single day.  I consider myself to be educated on Cluster B Personality Disorders.  More often than not,  they all follow the same script.

The blame game.  To an abuser, it is always the healthy parents fault.  They will accuse the healthy parent of being unstable, therefore unfit.  ProjectionThe unhealthy parent will project their truth onto their victim.  If the abuser was unfaithful, suddenly the victim is accused of  being unfaithful.  If the Cluster B is a negligent parent, they will now change history and the fit parent will be accused of being the negligent one.  To try and explain their obvious bad behavior, the abuser will lie and say that the victim was often violent and abusive.  That they stayed hoping it would get better but now realize they must protect the children from the victim. The smear campaignThey will tell stories about the healthy parent, usually these stories have no truth to them whatsoever.  They often claim the healthy parent is “alienating” them from their children. Often the Cluster B Disordered parent has estranged themselves from their children due to their own bad behavior.  Manipulation.  Abusers are very good at hiding their true-selves.   Even people closest to the victim often report that the abuser is “A great person” or “well loved in their community”.  The PAS card is often used in custody battles by the abuser against the healthy parent.

Many times parents write in asking for help.  They write “he/she has manipulated our Judge, GAL, Mediator, PC, Attorneys, and/or Therapist(s).  All of the professionals believe my XN is world’s best parent”.  Usually with time and very good documentation the cluster b disordered parent’s mask slips and they end up exposing themselves.  But what happens when the Court has many of the same traits as the Cluster B Personality Disordered parent?  In my opinion, cases like:  Tsimhoni vs Tsimhoni happen.

The Tsimhoni case made international headlines in June, 2015, when Judge Gorcyca sent the 3 Tsimhoni children (ages 9, 10, and 14) to juvenile detention at Children’s Village for refusing to have a relationship with their father.  She later sent them to summer camp, then forced them into a “reunification therapy” program with their estranged father.  They are currently living with him by court order. The mother, Dr. Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni, has been allowed no contact with the children other than one supervised visit in mid July (forced “protective” separation). The basis for these actions has been the dubious diagnosis of “parental alienation,” the idea that the mother alienated the children against their father. In fact, the children have said repeatedly their father is abusive and they are afraid of him and there is ample documented evidence to prove abuse. Recently, Plaintiff-Mother’s team of attorneys have filed motions to rescind the protective separation order and return children to the mother, appoint maternal grandmother as Next Friend, to represent the children’s interests in court, and disqualify Judge Lisa Gorcyca as the trier of fact in this case.  All four traits above are happening in this battle.  The blame game, projection, smear campaign and manipulation.

Media have shied away from this case because they see it as a contentious but private custody matter and not newsworthy. However, the issues in the case are independent of the custody issue and have everything to do with judicial misconduct and the use of evidence in hearings.  A couple of the Cluster B Personality Disorder traits that stand out to me are:

Lack of Judicial Impartiality, Inappropriate Courtroom Behavior, Inappropriate Incarceration, Malicious Behavior

Judge Gorcyca continuously sides in open court with father, violating her duty to remain impartial. Nearly all documents from Gorcyca or Keri Middleditch (father’s attorney) excoriate the mother, sometimes calling her [mentally] “ill.” Gorcyca and Middleditch called mother’s attorney a liar in open court but say only positive things about father despite evidence.  Court transcripts reveal Gorcyca’s and Middleditch’s inappropriate and malicious comments against mother and the children. In the June 23, 2015 hearing, Gorcyca attacked the oldest son and mother because he didn’t want to interact with his 2 year old half brother during visitation. “There’s something psychologically wrong with that, mom. I want you to hear this, there is something psychologically wrong…”  It is “disgusting…. What did that little boy ever do? Mess that little boy up. Good job. Good job, Ma’am.”  Gorcyca threatened mother. “A child full of hate will be a despicable adult. And your son did not even acknowledge a cute little two year old brother is a child whose heart is messed up. But, I’ve been saying this to you for years. If this doesn’t improve and if the show cause goes forward you are going to be strip searched, you are going to take off your clothes, squat and be strip searched.”.  The next day Gorcyca humiliated and verbally abused the children in open court before sending them to jail (her word) for contempt. The boys were removed from the courtroom in handcuffs [eyewitness report]. All 3 children were sent to Children’s Village, a juvenile detention.

Gorcyca wrongfully incarcerated the children for contempt, for “defying” her order to have a meaningful relationship with father. She incarcerated the mother for “contempt,” for not encouraging children to have a meaningful relationship with father and holding mother personally responsible when children did not interact with father during parenting time.  Mother was to spend one day in Oakland County Jail. She was released by the jail halfway through the day due to overcrowding. Gorcyca doubled the amount of time for mother to make up and made her spend two half days cleaning dog cages at the animal shelter.

Using A Debunked and Controversial Theory To Remove The Children From A Protective Mother And Giving Them To An Abusive Father.

Father alleges that mother (the custodial parent) has alienated the children from him (innocent victim), citing Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Gorcyca, Middleditch, and GAL agree. PAS is a controversial topic that reputable scholars believe should not be used in a court of law as it does not meet the Frye test. Even proponents of PAS theoretically argue that it can’t be diagnosed if the “alienated” parent is abusive. In this case, there is a history of documented abuse by father and fear on the part of the children that has been repeatedly suppressed. Gorcyca ordered the father and children into intensive “reunification therapy” last month (PAS protocol), in itself a controversial procedure akin to cult “deprogramming.” Where the children underwent this therapy and who conducted it are unknown as this information was sealed.  Most mental health professionals agree that PAS shouldn’t be allowed in the courtroom. It is not included in the DSM-5, the newest edition of the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the “bible” of psychologists, despite a vocal attempt by supporters to have it included.

Rebecca Davis Merritt had this to say, “Life is very simple when one person or an entire judicial system adopts a confirmation bias. In this instance if an objective is not met, it must be Maya’s fault, no need to examine any other hypothesis. Oakland County Circuit Judge Lisa Gorcyca, Lansat, Omer’s supporters including Middleditch all adopt the confirmation bias. The judge is supposed to be neutral which means she is suppose to cognitively propose alternative, competing hypotheses, like: What else could explain the children’s behaviors other than Maya engaging in parental alienation and persistently trying to damage the relationship between father and children? Odd how they all draw a blank on that one yet to most of us it is quite simple – perhaps what the children have told the judge about experiencing and witnessing domestic violence is true. Perhaps Omer’s flawed, failed relationship with the children is based on his own behaviors toward them and their resulting fears of him. Perhaps what we are witnessing is estrangement based on his behaviors rather than alienation based on Maya’s. Court records we have seen have never fully addressed these competing hypotheses and thus parties like us prone to one or the other of these confirmation biases jump on the bandwagon to proclaim their beliefs – alienation or estrangement. I try to not do that because I am not a mothers’ or fathers’ rights person; I prefer to focus upon the rights of the children and in this case and this courtroom the rights of these children have been virtually nonexistent and trampled upon. It saddens me that no strong voice or presence with media or judicial influence seems to care about these three children’s rights. It is emblematic of the dangerousness our family court system can pose daily for thousands of defenseless children. This must be changed. Children should not be seen as property to be evenly divided between parents regardless of their parents’ fitness and willingness to parent. A neutral court setting with a better judge is needed and regardless of the final decision (alienation or estrangement) the children and their parents separately need true competent, research based psychological services that do not arise from a money profiteering PAS industry pretending that PAS is a “real” DSM diagnosis and that there are empirically validated treatment protocols for this non-diagnosis. In the Tsimhoni case, these three children were kept in a hotel room with the father they claim to be abusive and a high school graduate PAS “coach”. Coaches do not have to be licensed therapists allowing the practice of “therapy” without a supervisory board to report violations of acceptable practice. Judges need to do due diligence in understanding that PAS should not be accepted as a “diagnosis” in the courtroom and that treatment of either genuine alienation or estrangement needs to be done by licensed, experience bona-fide professionals who care about healing the children rather than padding”.  I couldn’t agree more.

It is hard enough for a healthy parent to have to fight a cluster b personality disordered ex.  But facing an abusive Judge and GAL on top of the cluster b parent is too much for these children to bear.  On Friday Gorcyca filed her response and said she would not step down from this case.  Today the fathers evidentiary hearing for sole custody was adjourned because the mother, Dr. Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni  has filed an appeal based on Gorcyca’s decision.  Some feel that is a positive step.  Judge Grant will rule on October 14 and we can only hope she steps in and does the right thing.  I am worried about the three children who were punished for speaking out against abuse.  These kids have been further abused and traumatized, and tomorrow life goes on for Gorcyca.  It’s not that easy for the children who chose jail rather than having a relationship with their father.  Gorcyca has set a dangerous precedent.  It’s up to us to speak out, to be the children’s voice in this case because their voices and their mother’s voice have been unconstitutionally taken.

How can you help?

Get involved with advocacy for the #Tsimhoni Children: http://tsimhonirevisited.wix.com/tsimhoni

Sign the petition to Remove Judge Lisa Gorcyca from office:  http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/remove-judge-lisa-o-gorcyca-from-office

GoFundMe account for Maya Tsimhoni:

https://www.gofundme.com/JusticeTsimhoni

To get involved with the Tsimhoni in Review Campaign email: TsimhoniRevisited@gmail.com

Be part of the movement on Twitter: @TsimhoniReview

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“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.

The Lemonade Club, Tina Swithin’s private forum is now live! Seeking a place to share, connect and find help during your custody battle with a narcissist?  TLC is the answer and is now accepting applications.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal. 

 

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: When I am weak, then I am strong

Divorcing a Narcissist: When I am weak, then I am strong

purpose sarahBy Sarah, an OMB Administrator 

As I reflect back on my very long journey to leaving my ex for good, one moment stands out in my mind lately. I met an old friend for dinner one evening. She was going through a difficult divorce and as I listened to her talk about her experience, I admired the strength it took for her to walk away and never look back.

I also remember feeling very jealous.

Why was she strong enough to leave and I wasn’t? I hated myself for my weakness.

I told her about the latest drama with my then husband; it was a particularly difficult time. She very calmly said to me, “You don’t have to live like this.” It was so simple but so true.

I thought about how having children complicated things and how I couldn’t support myself financially but these things were just excuses and stall tactics. I was scared and still hopeful that if I suffered through the difficult times, my marriage would eventually hit a smooth patch.

In time, I realized that the purpose of my life wasn’t to suffer.

I also realized that I was, in fact, strong enough to leave. My children gave me the courage to leave and never look back. My ex gave me the drive to start on a new career path and to succeed.

I think on this journey we all have our own pace and that we need to be kind to ourselves. Even taking small steps helped to build up my strength and resolve. When things seem difficult and overwhelming, I try to reflect back on my weaker moments to see just how far I’ve come.

###

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.

The Lemonade Club, Tina Swithin’s private forum is now live! Seeking a place to share, connect and find help during your custody battle with a narcissist?  TLC is the answer and is now accepting applications – the group will be limited to the first 250 approved applicants.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

Contempt Charges and the Narcissistic – Is it Even Worth It?

Contempt Charges and the Narcissistic – Is it Even Worth It?

Rules-by Lucy K. Wright

Right now, this very minute as I type, my ExN is in Contempt.

As I sit here contemplating the legal decisions I may, or may not need to make over the next few days, I cannot help but have a hundred different ping-pong thoughts bouncing through my head.

It’s been nine years of this post-divorce mess.

No matter how much time and money we spend haggling with the lawyers, compromising on various OK, but never great new “parenting plans”; only to sign the next set of legal documents, adding to the accumulated mass of our never-ending extensive court file…

It is always just a matter of time before the ExN rears his ugly narcissistic ways, inflating his grandiose chest of self-importance, rising high above and beyond any prior agreed-upon settlement, or ruling by any judge (who ranks well-below him in every way possible way, as he’s already contested two of their mandates in the past)… and violates our agreement once again.

Does he care?

Sure doesn’t seem to.

When you have the financial means to play this game for so long, and seemingly no other goals in life but to “punish” your ex-spouse for leaving you (for reasons you will never even begin to understand) in the first place…nothing really matters, or seems to mean a thing.

When my ExN makes a mistake, most of the time knowingly, but sometimes maybe not, no worries at all, because he generally has the financial means to make it go away.

Follow the rules?

Ha.

(But if it was ME who was not following the rules – well – we all know that this would be a totally different story.)

The ExN and I signed a “revised parenting plan” just over one year ago, after he insisted upon a review of our prior plan. The review consisted of a PRE, a complete 3-year financial disclosure, a deposition, a mediation, and several trips to the courthouse, all which took about two years to complete. HE wanted all of this; it’s officially documented (even though he tells our kids it was all my doing, of course).

The revisions to our original parenting plan were minimal – wasting thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of difficult, emotional time, all for very little change at all.

One rule in the new parenting plan, similar to many other parenting plans, specifically dictates the following:

Each parent will have the right of first refusal to care for the minor children if the other parent cannot provide care during his or her parenting time.

There is more language around that, but the gist of the statement is simple – if you can’t take care of the kids for some reason during your time, you have to give the other parent the option of letting the kids stay with them.

My ExN is in Contempt as I write this.

He recently took one of our children on a trip for two nights; while he made arrangements for another child to stay with his friends for two nights, somehow, inadvertently, forgetting to tell me, and/or give me the option of having our child stay with me.

And so, here I sit pondering…

-The embarrassment to my child if I bring light to this situation, and an innocent family – his friends – being potentially forced to get involved legally should I pursue.

-The condescending snide answer I am guaranteed to get back via email if I let the ExN know, that I know, that he didn’t follow our parenting plan, like he expects me to do every hour of every day.

-The potential waste of more time, and more multi-thousands of dollars, to jump back into the long legal web of filing Contempt.

-Even if I did file on him – again – what would more than likely be the outcome? Another slap on the hand from the Judge, confirming the Contempt, and instructing the ExN “not to do it again?”

And so… he wins?  Again?

Not really.  He won’t win in the big picture of life – but in this situation – in knowing how to manipulate the system, being financially capable of keeping this all going for so long, and knowing how to play the legal game, technically, he “wins.”

 

One of the lessons I have always taught my children is to “take the high road.”

Because taking the high road means doing the right thing, even if it’s not popular, or easy, or choosing to jump in the ring, only to fight yet one more ugly legal battle.

Because sometimes the way to “win,” is to Just. Not. Play.

(Just Don’t Play, but make sure to document everything for the future when you do decide to play!)

~LLS~ Lucy K.

###

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.

The Lemonade Club, Tina Swithin’s private forum is now live! Seeking a place to share, connect and find help during your custody battle with a narcissist?  TLC is the answer and is now accepting applications – the group will be limited to the first 250 approved applicants.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

Domestic Violence and a Broken Family Court System

Domestic Violence and a Broken Family Court System

OMB Broken Systemby Anonymous 

I don’t know where my son is.

I mean, I sort of know.  I am reasonably certain that he is in one geographical area.  I believe that he is with his father, maybe his grandma.

I haven’t spoken to him in over a week.

He is 5.

I recently went through some major losses in court.  I spent a year and a half being dragged along like a dead cat on a leash.  He blew off mediation – add three months.  He blew off a readiness conference – add two months.  He blew off his own trial, and then cried about making a mistake and was granted another one – Add four months.  I got to pay for an attorney to do everything twice.

He won everything.

Three years ago he tried to kill me.  The responding police officer found me to be completely hysterical, so when my abuser lied and said I’d tried to kill myself, they carted me off to a mental hospital.  This decision shaped everything that came after it.  The hospital realized pretty quickly that I didn’t need to be there.  I was released 40 hours into a 72 hour hold, (essentially unheard of in mental health care.)  I wasn’t trying to kill myself.  I was being abused by a psychopath.  They told me that as long as I could find somewhere to go that wasn’t home with my abuser, they would release me.  Another 2 hours and a friend picked me up.

Social services came.  It wasn’t the first time they decided to put my son in foster care.  He had just turned 2.  They told me it was my fault.  They had spent so much money forcing me to go to DV classes.  They could not understand why this had happened, AGAIN.

“Why didn’t you leave?”

He took my car keys.

And my shoes.

“Why didn’t you change the locks?”

Because making symbolic gestures to psychopaths is dangerous.

“Why didn’t you call the police?”

I DID CALL THE POLICE.  They made everything worse.

“Why didn’t you get a restraining order?”

I tried. I was turned down because there were no criminal convictions.

“Why didn’t you protect your son?”

I did.  And I would have done a much better job if one single human being in my county (California) thought I was worth protecting, too.

The police officer that came three years ago didn’t arrest him.  Didn’t even write a report.  So victim’s services and the district attorney can’t help me.  (Private citizens can’t “press charges” where I live – you may make a report to the police and the police make the report to the DA if they think it’s “worth it.”) The standard of evidence for my particular judge to consider domestic violence as relevant to a custody proceeding is a criminal conviction of domestic violence in criminal court.  Since the police officer didn’t write my report as anything other than “crazy girl goes to hospital,” there are no avenues for me to pursue.  That one police officer got it wrong, and as a result, my domestic violence is not considered relevant to my custody proceeding.

I have had other courts acknowledge what happened to me.  We have been through dependency court on two separate occasions. During my first dependency case, I was told to stop calling the police during fights, because it was evidence that my family wasn’t making progress.  When I was beaten during that case and fled with my child to a hotel, the supervisor at CPS told me to immediately return my baby – it was his father’s parenting time.  I told him what had happened, and he gave me two options:  give my baby back to the man who had just beaten me, or give my baby to the supervisor, and he would find an adoptive family for my baby since my family obviously couldn’t hold it together.

I sent my baby back to my abuser.  I didn’t call the police.  Two months later, that supervisor wrote a report saying that everything was fine – there had been no more police reports, so that meant there wasn’t anymore domestic violence.  I was blown away.

That first case had lots of “services” attached to it.  Anger management, victim’s counseling, parenting classes.  On more than one occasion, I arrived to a victim’s support group to be told that the instructor was busy and we were going to watch an Adam Sandler movie.  Participation in these services was mandatory to have my child returned – and I was driving 30 minutes each way to watch an Adam Sandler movie.  Not even a new one; that movie had been out for years.  I could have stayed home and watched it on Netflix, but watching it in a group setting meant that I was being obedient and respectful to the court.

The second case was full of disappointment.  They’d sent me to so many Adam Sandler classes, they just couldn’t understand why everything wasn’t better.  Everything was my fault.  I should have asked for help.  I should have gotten a restraining order.  I should have called the police.  I should have, I should have, I should have.  Not once in that entire case did anyone look at that man and say “YOU should not have tried to strangle the mother of your child.”

Fast forward several years, and here I am, in the exact same boat.  The people who understand and acknowledge my abuse continue to set the stage so that I am penalized for asking for help, and then make sure that I am penalized if I don’t ask for help. Contact with the new girlfriend suggests nothing’s changed. He is preying on, abusing, stalking other women the same way he did to me.  But it doesn’t matter, because, say it with me now, “THERE ARE NO CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS.

I lost it in court a few weeks ago.

I was handed a verdict that didn’t go in my favor.  All of the safety I’d built for years evaporated, and I panicked.  I asked a completely different judge for a restraining order.  As a punishment, I am now on supervised visits with my own son.  My ex is now the gatekeeper for contact with my child, so talking to him is being dangled in front of me like a carrot on a stick.  I got to Skype with him a few weeks ago.  He cried the loudest sobs I’ve ever heard.  My heart breaks for him.  And then breaks again to hear his father tell him that “if mommy would obey me, this wouldn’t happen.”

Criminal convictions cannot continue to be the bar to which we hold domestic violence victims.  My son’s case is heard in juvenile court, where a lower standard of evidence is used to determine whether or not he is safe.  I am over the age of 18, so I am not awarded the same courtesy.  If I cannot prove beyond any doubt that this man hurt me behind closed doors three years ago, I can just shut up and go away.  I do not matter.  That man hurt me with no witnesses, and I was ashamed enough of my bruises that I didn’t take pictures.  I wasn’t struck with the need to take selfies at those particular moments.  I just wanted to crawl under a rock and die.  I should have taken pictures.  I wasn’t thinking about court.  I was thinking about making the hitting stop.  If you have absolutely zero understanding of domestic violence issues, I suppose you could come to the conclusion that I wasn’t trying to get help.

I lived in an incredibly poor county when I was abused.  I learned afterwards that most DV victims don’t bother calling the police in that city.  There is just no point.  They won’t help you.  It makes me sad to know that so many women are coming to this conclusion.

We can do better.

As a group of people who claim to have the best interests of children at heart, we have to begin to group victims together with this priority in mind.  Helping a child through a crisis is a pointless waste of time and money if you’re going to put him right back in that crisis when you walk away.  We have to find a way to keep children safe with some priority on permanency, and where I live, that still comes second to patriarchal property rights.

All family violence cases should be heard in dependency court.  I am never going to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt what happened to me.  I can, and have, submit to forensic interviews with educated professionals who can, and have, come to the conclusion that I was horrifically abused and currently experiencing trauma.  When we chose to ignore professionals, and cling to the bad decisions of first responders, we are willfully choosing to keep our children in unsafe environments.  Skilled and trained professionals NEED to have a say in complicated psychological issues – they are our best chance of identifying true problems and true solutions.

Our family court system is beyond broken.  Leave a comment under this article on our OMB Facebook page if you would agree that we need legislation to have family violence and abuse issues handled differently than random attacks and property disputes.

What would your solutions be?

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“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.

The Lemonade Club, Tina Swithin’s private forum is now live! Seeking a place to share, connect and find help during your custody battle with a narcissist?  TLC is the answer and is now accepting applications – the group will be limited to the first 250 approved applicants.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

Communicating with a Narcissist

Communicating with a Narcissist

Communicating with a Narcissistby Tina Swithin

I was recently asked to chime in on a Huffington Post article titled, “6 Ways to Maintain Your Sanity while Parenting with a Narcissist.” Maintaining your sanity while parenting, co-parenting or parallel parenting with someone who suffers from a Cluster B disorder is an experience that few can comprehend.

My submitted response was cut down significantly so I thought I’d share my two cents in full:

Taking control of communication while co-parenting (or parallel parenting) with a narcissist is absolutely critical to your emotional well-being. Since the narcissist is no longer able to control you in the relationship, they need to obtain their “narcissistic feed” in other ways. The desire for a narcissistic feed is similar to a drug addicts’ need for his or her next fix and their appetite can be insatiable. For the narcissist, keeping you engaged, whether good or bad, is their driving force.

Learning to communicate with a narcissist is just like learning another language. First, you will want to limit all non-emergency communication to emails and I often advise clients to create a separate email account for communication with the narcissist. Better yet, Our Family Wizard or Talking Parents are both programs designed specifically for couples in high-conflict custody battles or shared parenting situations. Narcissists are known for their lengthy emails and something as simple as a pair of mismatched socks on your toddler can open the door to a barrage of attacks about your parenting.

The first step is to decode the email which is generally chock-full of projection and just enough lies to make your head spin. Over time and as you take your power back, you will even find humor in decoding the narcissist’s emails. As a way to shed light on the painful verbal assaults that I would receive from my ex-husband, I invented the Narc Decoder which scrubs down the projection, lies, attacks and ulterior motives that are typically found in a narcissist’s email. Learning to understand the communication style of the narcissist is similar to learning a foreign language but once you understand it, you will experience greater peace and sometimes, even a good laugh.

Next, it is important to “gray rock” your communication style. Because the narcissist wants to evoke emotion (good or bad) from you, it will be imperative that you refrain from any and all emotion. The Gray Rock technique teaches us that communication should be short, monotonous, business-like and boring. When communicating with a narcissist, less is always more. Your goal is for the narcissist to begin looking elsewhere to receive their narcissistic feed. Sift through the email communication and only respond to the items that are relevant to co-parenting. If you must write a lengthy response, send it to your mother or best friend as a way to vent but do not send it to the narcissist. Do not engage your ex on the topic of your toddler’s mismatched socks. If there are untruthful attacks on your parenting that are more serious than mismatched socks, my favorite go-to response is simple but direct, “Your attempt to portray me in a negative light is noted.” Co-parenting or parallel parenting with a narcissist can be emotionally exhausting which is why it is so important to implement strategies that allow you to take your power back.

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“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.

The Lemonade Club, Tina Swithin’s private forum is now live! Seeking a place to share, connect and find help during your custody battle with a narcissist?  TLC is the answer and is now accepting applications – the group will be limited to the first 250 approved applicants.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Raising Healthy Children

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Raising Healthy Children

OMB Healthy Childrenby Rebecca Davis-Merritt

Remember your journey with the Cluster B in your life: the lies, manipulation, wooing, broken promises, his/her victim status but how at first you fell in love with the charisma and apparent ability to look into your soul. You may have thought s/he was your soul mate. Now your eyes and thoughts are unclouded. You see the Cluster B in a non-distorted way but your children are caught up in the Cluster B world during their parenting time. How do you help protect your children by teaching them to recognize manipulation, to set healthy boundaries, but not badmouth their other parent (recommended reading: Divorce Poison)? You have to arm your children to make it to adulthood relatively unscathed from their love for and contact with a Cluster B parent.

Ideally your children will have an excellent therapist who understands domestic violence (the emotional abuse and extreme need for power and control of a Cluster B is DV, although not all DV agencies understand this. See the Duluth Model of DV power wheel). Many DV agencies have support groups for children that teach them to recognize pathological need for power and control and how to protect themselves from abusers. Hopefully they have a very healthy other parent in you who understands the pathology of Cluster B, resists their efforts to antagonize, bait, and agitate you, is able to “grey rock it” by not showing emotion to Cluster B, communicating only via email or Our Family Wizard, Two House, Talking Parents, etc, and who teaches the children empathy in various ways. Start by reading aloud a Bucket Book (Amazon) to children 3-9. This costs around $10 and is a powerful tool for parents and children. The child learns about bucket fillers (kind people) and bucket dippers (angry,controlling, bullies). They learn the relationship between kindness and thoughtfulness and feeling safe and happy or the relationship between meanness and feeling unsafe and unhappy. Parents can help children understand how empathy is related to people choosing to respect others’ feelings and lack of empathy is not caring and often deliberately hurting others.

Many OMB parents teach their children that empathy is important by volunteer activities serving the vulnerable or by having zip lock packs of food, water, and grooming supplies in the car to give to homeless individuals. Even TV and movies can be a teaching tool. Frozen depicts a Cluster B who is charming, wooed his way into Anna’s heart  but turns out to be a lying scoundrel. This provides a good discussion about how first impressions do not matter as much as longterm behaviors and how we always need to date someone a long time observing them in many environments and situations before giving our heart to them. It can also lead to a discussion of the qualities important in a husband/father or wife/mother. Healthy parents have to seize every teachable moment to arm their children in a protective manner. They also have to learn how to deprogram their children without bad mouthing their other parent when the children return from parenting time in demoralized, angry, or confused states.

TV and movies have many examples of when a boundary set by a person is violated by another. Help your children recognize such boundary intrusions. The first step in children learning to set boundaries is the belief they have the right to safely do so. Safely means the boundary will be acknowledged and respected, not ignored, made fun of, etc. Children need much practice with their healthy parent in understanding everyone sets boundaries but not all people have the same types of boundaries. Eventually the child will understand boundaries, realize they have the right for appropriate boundaries to be respected. At this time they can then, especially if familiar with bucket book philosophy, learn that there are people who refuse to honor other people’s boundaries. They are bucket dippers and they intentionally violate others’ boundaries because it makes them feel powerful. They like to bully and boss others. At this point children learn the difference in trustworthy and untrustworthy people. Unfortunately for children with Cluster B parents, their parent is often the latter.

It is very scary for a child to set a healthy boundary with a Cluster B parent. It might be saying, “stop talking about mom/dad that way.” Setting the boundary will likely result in punishment and a Cluster B tantrum designed to bully the child into feeling sorry for or fearing the Cluster B. Yet it is important that the child feels empowered to set healthy boundaries and to do so when motivated. Otherwise the child grows up catering to pathology and avoiding confrontation often picking their own life partner to recreate such dynamics. It is also okay for children to know what boundary they wish to set but to acknowledge it would not be safe for them to do it with their Cluster B parent. This is not avoidance but self-protection. This information needs to be shared with therapist, GAL, etc. It is up to the healthy parent to give their children the cognitive tools  to understand empathy, lack of empathy, excessive need of power and control, manipulation (tv commercials are great examples), and boundaries. If you respect your child, allow appropriate boundaries, and model empathy and kindness you are cultivating the best environment for your children to flourish, withstand a Cluster B parent without developing pathological narcissistic, manipulative features themselves. Examine yourself. Have you done enough self improvement to be the kind of parent who can provide this environment for your child? If not find your own therapist, join your own DV support group, join an OMB state chapter and participate in meetings, check out OMB’s suggested reading list and start educating yourself more intensively.

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“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.

The Lemonade Club, Tina Swithin’s private forum is now live! Seeking a place to share, connect and find help during your custody battle with a narcissist?  TLC is the answer and is now accepting applications – the group will be limited to the first 250 approved applicants.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be…Disrespectful…Like Their Narcissistic Parent

Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be…Disrespectful…Like Their Narcissistic Parent

I cannot control his words or hisby Lucy K. Wright

My kids came home from a weekend with the Narcissistic Ex recently to confidentially inform me that I never graduated from college.

“Dad said”…. “You quit college before you got your degree and he told us that you never even graduated.”

Interesting.

I got my diploma the same day the ExN did, with him, but hmmm…I guess he forgot.

I told my kids that I did in-fact graduate from college.  And then I took both to show them my diploma.

You can’t force someone like your ExN to show you respect. But you can refuse to be disrespected.

_______

I know I cannot control the words he says to them.

However,

that doesn’t mean I don’t worry about how my kids are influenced by his words as they are constantly exposed to his disrespectful bullying behaviors.

_______

The abusive mannerisms of a Narcissist do not ever stop, even long after the divorce is finalized.  And even if you, the former spouse and victim of his abuse, continue to heal, understand, grow, and move forward, his words and actions may still heavily influence your kids, as they are growing, developing and forming their own identities.

As much as we may not want to admit that our kids have any of the Ex-Narc’s genes – at all – unfortunately, they do. So not only are we dealing with aspects of ExN-Nature…

We are also dealing with aspects of ExN-Nurture…

For example:

  • If I happen to walk in the door of the store while my ExN is walking out with our kids, he turns his back to me and quickly walks back into the store as if he never saw me, and our encounter never existed.
  • When he pulls up in front of my home to get the kids for the start of his parenting time, he parks between my driveway and the neighbors and sits with his back turned to my home until the kids dash out to get into his running car, barely having time to close the car door before he quickly speeds away.
  • He took our child to the pediatrician one day and insisted I meet him there from work (as he does not perform such menial parenting duties as taking kids to the doctor)!  I walked into the office and started talking with a nurse.  We were all surprised when we saw ExN’s reflection through the window, walking back to his car after he had apparently gone through the Doctor’s private office back door to exit (as that was the only other exit in the building) rather than walk back through the office and out the door I was standing by.
  • At a school event for the kids, the ExN appears at the last second before the event starts, stands in the doorway for the event, and then disappears a minute before the end of the event, leaving the kids to quickly wrap up and return to him, as he sits by himself, with his car running in the parking lot.
  • The ExN requests separate conferences with teachers every year, despite the teachers having limited time to conduct their conferences, because he refuses to be in the same room as me.
  • And, my favorite…When my daughter was 9 years old, he told her that he will sit in the back of the church when she gets married because he refuses to be anywhere near “her mother” – even at her wedding.

_______

I know I cannot control his actions.

However,

that doesn’t mean I don’t worry about how my kids are influenced by his actions as they are constantly exposed to his disrespectful behaviors.

_______

I’m rarely surprised anymore by actions taken, and words spewed, by my ExN.  Admittedly, his words, which I frequently hear repeated via the young innocent voices of my children, still sting sometimes.  But I don’t cry like I used to.  And after years of self-work, I’ve learned that most of what he says is a mere reflection of his own insecurities anyhow.   Gasp.  I know.  But it’s taken me a long time to figure that out.

As tough as it is some days to let his hateful remarks and vengeful actions roll off my Teflon-coated back, I know that my most important job in life is to stand strong as a pillar of emotional and physical safety, be a positive role model for my kids, and provide them with a healthy example of how to treat people with the respect they deserve.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

A word, with HIS college degree, I don’t know that he can even spell, much less show what it means.

But despite his nature, or his “nurture,” and despite the fact that he can manipulate like no other, and shine the golden carrot of materialistic goods in front of my kids’ noses to show them the only “love” that he knows how to show – I will not let my kids think that the words and actions of their N-father are the norm in life.

I know I cannot control his words or his actions. I know I cannot control what my kids hear and see when they are around their father.

But I know I CAN:

Teach my kids not to turn their backs on people.
Teach my kids to treat people the way they want to be treated.
Teach my kids to respect.

And I can hope that one day, they will understand.

~LLS~ Lucy K.

###

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.

The Lemonade Club, Tina Swithin’s private forum is now live! Seeking a place to share, connect and find help during your custody battle with a narcissist?  TLC is the answer and is now accepting applications – the group will be limited to the first 250 approved applicants.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

Narcissists and Child Support: You Give an Inch. They Take 100 Miles.

Narcissists and Child Support: You Give an Inch. They Take 100 Miles.

Child Support and the Narcissist....whenby Lucy K. Wright

Child support is a simple calculation: Income for both – Number of overnights for both – Calculated annually. There’s a form. On the State website. Plug in the numbers and automatic – bam! Instant calculation of what might be owed.

Simple?

You bet.

Simple, that is, for 99% of people who do this calculation.

______

My kids have 10 weeks of summer vacation this year. I have already spent $4000 per week, without planning any camps, exotic vacations, activities, or even friends and family low-cost barbecues.

Why?

Because my Ex is a Narcissist. And I know by now that what should be a “simple calculation,” regardless of the situation, never will be.

_______

Seven months ago the ExN filed a motion with the court asking to reduce child support.

I AGREED to his reduction at mediation.

But I didn’t agree “within the timeframe” he dictated.

So the deal “was off the table” two days later, according to my ExN and his twin-minded attorney.

During the past 7 months I’ve…

-Been to mediation (Dealing with a Narcissist 101: Never go to mediation if you can avoid it)
-Produced 100’s of financial documents, dating three years back
-Called credit card companies to get back-statements, which never arrived, so I had to call them again
-Been deposed by his attorney
-Been to double-time counseling sessions to deal with the stress from this situation, which has trickled from me, to my husband, to my family, to my work, and pretty much every other aspect of my life
-Separated bank accounts
-Refiled my taxes, one day after I filed them the first time, due to a $50 error that he was going to report to the IRS
-Discovered how “creative” the ExN can be with his own financial disclosures
-Fought with my husband
-Fought with my attorney
-Gained a little extra “cortisol” stress weight around my middle
-And…Taken out another loan to pay for this go-round, which I know will not be the last, in dealing with my Narcissist Ex.

Never underestimate how difficult “simple calculations” and “simple situations” can get when you’re dealing with a Narcissist.

I am not after empathy in writing all of this. I’m simply noting how something as simple as a state formula – so simple that it works for 99% of the population – can be so manipulated and twisted when you are dealing with someone with NPD.

Do the courts understand? I don’t think they do.

Do the lawyers understand? I believe some of them do.

Do your friends, and/or family support system understand? I don’t always think they do, when I hear things from them like “well, why don’t you just do this… or this…and your lawyer needs to say this…and the judge will do that…”

It’s just not that simple.

And unless you’ve been exposed to this type of situation, you most likely will really not ever truly even understand.

________

Through this last several month ordeal, I’ve realized, yet again, in this seemingly never-ending process, how far I have personally come from beginning to deal with this toxic situation, dating back over eight years ago.

And how far I personally I need to keep going… for myself…and for my husband… and especially for my kids.

And… how broken our court system really is.

_______

What I’ve realized and learned throughout this most recent process, more than any other, is how much my current husband loves me, and stands by me, through thick and thin, no matter what. Understanding any of this, and putting up with me through all of this is tough… and outright crazy some days… to say the least.

When you grow up with a Narcissist parent, and then marry a Narcissist partner, this crazy N world is your norm. You know nothing else, and this is what you naturally, not knowing any better, think relationships should be like.

When you meet someone who shows you that love is unconditional, no matter what, it makes no sense to you.

What?
Someone still talks to you even IF you disagree and have an argument?

What?
Someone is still there for you even IF you share your feelings and shed a few tears?

If you’ve been in a relationship with a Narcissist, you may not ever, truly understand or believe that someone will be there for you unconditionally, no matter what.

It takes a long time, and a lot of personal work, to understand that they actually will.

_______

The final email from the ExN’s attorney to mine stated a few simple words including a ridiculously reduced child support number they threw out from no-where, that he was “willing to pay,” to make this mess – the mess that HE created – go away.

And… I agreed.

I knew I would be eligible for much more money from him each month, and I had no doubt through the numerous conversations with my lawyer and sorting through the financial lies the ExN told, that I would come out much further ahead financially if I decided to go to court, rather than accept his lame, random, child-support “deal”.

But it just wasn’t worth it.

It wasn’t worth the money, hassle, emotional drain, or the continued battle.

It wasn’t worth my mental sanity, or the stress I brought to my husband, my family, myself, and my life… it was not worth prolonging the toxic situation and trying to “get” a little more money from Him each month.

Let him think he won… Again.

Because big picture, it doesn’t really matter. And in the big picture, he IS NOT winning.

______

I talk to my kids a lot about “taking the high road” because no matter how badly people treat you, you should never drop down to their level.

Just know you’re better.  And walk away.

Because in the end, you ARE “winning.”

 

~LLS~ Lucy K.

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Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal. 

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