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

“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.

Hello…..from the Narcissist

Hello…..from the Narcissist

Helloby Tina Swithin

I have written four books to date and my favorite of all is The Narc Decoder. I loved receiving emails from those in the trenches who are finding humor and reclaiming their power in the aftermath of narcissistic abuse. Some of the narcissistic communication is so over the top – quoting song lyrics in an attempt to lure us back into their web. One of the moms in our OMB admin group received an email from her ex in which he quoted Adelle’s song, “Hello.” Camaraderie and laughter quickly ensued between the administrators. From there, one of the administrators grabbed the email and went running for the Narc Decoder:

SNAP, FIZZLE, POP…….

Adele’s Hello…Narcissist Version

Hello it’s me (cluster B)…
I was wondering how many years it would take for you to see through me….
To go over, all of my lies….
They say that times supposed to heal ya….
But I don’t give a damn…
Hello, can you hear me (I’m important!!!)….
I’m in California dreaming about ways to destroy you for leaving…
When we were younger, you fell for me (cluster B)….
There’s such a DIFFERENCE psychologically between US!!!
And a million miles………
Hello from the NARCISSISTIC SIDE!!!!!!
I must have stalked you a thousand times….
To gather information on everything that you’ve done…(projection, anyone?!)
But when I call you never seem to be home…(By the way…where are you? I hope you don’t have a life!)

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One Mom’s Battle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 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. Please consider a donation to help with our efforts.

History of One Mom’s Battle: 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.

Divorcing a Narcissist: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

The Narc Decoder – Book Release

The Narc Decoder – Book Release

by Tina Swithin

Hi everyone!  It’s been quite a while since I’ve checked in.

As I opened the OMB blog to write a post, I had a flood of memories come through. This was the place I came to vent, purge and try to make sense of a world that makes no sense. When I started this blog, I was rock bottom. I was alone, scared and confused. I was someone who hated conflict and because of that, I learned to bend and my boundaries were fluid versus firm. This blog became my strength on so many dark days.

Quick update on my case: it’s been 31 months since we’ve seen Seth aside from a 1-hour visit in 2014 which caused our world to rock a bit. After that visit, the Commissioner stripped Seth of visits completely. He isn’t even allowed to call us. In true sociopath fashion, Seth recently reemerged on Valentine’s Day when he sent a card to his mom and pretended that it came from the girls. Because he used my email address to send the card (silly, silly, little Seth), I promptly filed a police report to document the incident. Now he has set a court date to deal with child support because he was once again fired from his job. I wish I would have never opened a child support case in 2009 because today, that is the tie that binds us. The reality is, I would gladly pay him support each month to go away once and for all!

Since I stopped blogging, I’ve taken my writing energy to paper and made good use of my time. Last year I published my third book, Rebuilding After the Storm and today, my fourth book went live which may be my personal favorite: The Narc Decoder.

Excerpt from The Narc Decoder:

Divorcing a narcissist? You are probably left feeling baffled and shaken by the communication that you receive from the narcissist. In my mid-twenties, I contemplated learning multiple foreign languages. I envisioned dabbling in French to successfully make my way around Paris or Irish Gaelic to explore the rich history of Ireland along with my deep ancestral roots in that country. My day dreams about learning new languages always went hand in hand with the imagery of world travel. The thought of exploring exotic and old world places far away from home intrigued me. My mind summoned several foreign adventures, but never did I think I would need to learn a foreign language to navigate my own life. In 2008, I heard the words, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” (NPD) to describe my then-husband, Seth. It took a couple years for the reality of those three little words to really sink in.

Looking back, the red flags had been waving in the wind since our very first date. Those flags grew taller and more vibrant in color during our marriage. As it turns out, those same red flags that had been lining my path for years were dipped in a highly flammable mixture of kerosene. I realized the danger only when they exploded near the end of my marriage. Like any unexpected explosion, I was unprepared and left nursing deep, emotional, third-degree burns. In my research, I discovered a new language which took quite a bit of studying and insight on NPD to understand. As it turns out, the reason that I was so bewildered by Seth’s communication style was that we were speaking completely different languages. I spoke the English version of “human” while he was speaking the non-human “Narc-ish.”

I am convinced there is a Narc-ish dictionary or manual hidden deep in a dark, musty hole somewhere in a faraway land with step-by-step instructions on how to inflict fear, confusion and despair. From this land, narcissists hail. Their secret language can only be decoded by those who aren’t fooled by the narcissist’s stealth ability to inflict confusion and chaos with it. My computer has a feature that allows me to translate most languages. However, this particular area of my life requires technology that is a bit savvier. Need is the catalyst of industry: and I was in need of a device to decipher Narc-ish. So, I invented one. I call it the “Narc Decoder” and have made life-altering good use of it. The good news is, everyone has access to the Narc Decoder because it is a machine that I am honored to replicate and share with anyone who is forced to communicate with a narcissist. Once you understand how to use the Narc Decoder, your life will change for the better. You will become empowered and will regain your voice. Over time, you will begin to find humor in the communication style that once left you on your knees begging for mercy.

This may very well be my favorite book of all – because it shows you how to take your power back. It teaches you how to see through the lies, projection, attacks and bullshit. Always open to feedback and you can find me on Facebook!

Love, light and lemonade power!  Tina

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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.

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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.

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.

One Mom’s Battle Updates from Tina Swithin

One Mom’s Battle Updates from Tina Swithin

Thank_You_Beach_620by Tina Swithin

There are so many changes happening with One Mom’s Battle – this particular blog post is bittersweet as it marks the end of a journey that has been full of extreme highs and lows, happiness, sadness and finally, peace. I had no idea that starting this blog in 2011 would alter the course of my life. At the time, I was just one mom. When I started this blog, I felt incredibly alone — the blog became my confidant, my outlet and my dear friend during the darkest period of my life. There were times that I wrote things that I never published – my deepest fears and most personal thoughts were captured both publicly and privately. The One Mom’s Battle movement is gaining momentum and we are headed in a direction that exceeds anything I ever dreamt possible. For that reason, this will be my last personal blog.

One Mom’s Battle (OMB) is no longer about me. This movement is SO much bigger than me- thanks to all of you.

One Mom’s Battle recently turned into a non-profit organization with the potential to change lives, educate the masses and reach those who are feeling desperate and alone. Our main mission and driving force is to educate the Family Court System on Cluster B personality disorders so that no child experiences the heartache and abuse that my daughters endured…and that your children endure. It is my hope that no one ever feels alone in this battle and my heart swells with pride when I see the massive outreach taking place every day on the OMB Facebook page. Our Facebook pages are run by the most dedicated group of volunteers I have ever encountered. It’s a place of community and it’s a place of education.

A few weeks ago, we held our first OMB Board Meeting where I am volunteering as Board President. We’ve divided into a variety of sub-committees and we are going full steam ahead fueled by incredible amounts of passion and purpose. The Board Members are my family – strong, inspirational and driven to fight for Children’s Rights. We have an amazing board, a strong advisory committee and our Executive Director is one of the most inspirational warrior parents that I’ve ever encountered. The OMB Board of Directors is a true Dream Team. We look forward to updating you on “everything OMB” in the coming months.   Cheers to education and making changes – from my coffee cup to yours!

I sit here writing from my favorite little beach-side coffee shop in 88 degree California weather. I love coming here – it’s my secret spot where I rarely run into anyone that I know. I even have a favorite booth in the back corner where I can people-watch and reflect on past, present and future. Today I am reflecting on the many changes in my life over the past year – and the fact that the most prevalent feeling in my life is contentment. I am thankful to the Family Court System for finally “getting it.” I wish this feeling for everyone.

As I mentioned above, this will be my final personal blog. My battle is over. My case was won on the basis of emotional abuse – while this is rare, it gives me hope that others will follow in my footsteps. What is next for me?  As many of you know, I recently took a huge plunge and quit my career in Public Relations to dedicate myself to my new role as a Divorce Coach for survivors of Cluster B relationships and for those enduring high conflict custody battles. In addition, I am writing my third book and plan to facilitate annual retreats (the first one will be held November 6-8, 2015). If you’d like to follow my personal blog and stay informed on retreats or events that I am facilitating and new book releases, please visit me at www.tinaswithin.com and sign up (bottom right) for my monthly e-newsletter. To participate in my November retreat, please email me at tina@onemomsbattle.com.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you for cheering me on during my court battles. Thank you for your emails, text messages and snail mail. Thank you for believing in me when I was living on coffee, not sleeping and buried in piles of court documents. Thank you for sharing your stories and your heart with me over the past four years. Thank you for being a part of my journey.  Thank you!  – In love and deep gratitude, Tina Swithin

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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. 

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.

The Life That Awaits You – With Lundy Bancroft

The Life That Awaits You – With Lundy Bancroft

Lundy and Tina Swithinby Tina Swithin

Today, I am blogging from the friendly skies – on a flight from Connecticut to DC and then on to Phoenix with a final destination of San Luis Obispo, California. While it will be a long day (week!) of travel, it has been worth every moment as I am coming off of one of those “life-changing” experiences that I wish for everyone. I am thankful for today’s travel time and I plan to make the most of it by reflecting on and absorbing how much the past few days has enriched my life.

I grew up without my biological mother in my life. Her brief and sporadic appearances throughout my childhood never left warm and fuzzy feelings but instead left me feeling confused, scared and saddened. Most likely due to my own early experiences, my greatest fear in life was the mere thought of becoming a mother. That all changed (thankfully) at the age of 30 when I discovered that I was pregnant with my first child. For NM1my entire childhood, it was my dad and I. There were many periods of time when others became part of the picture like my early years when my grandmother and Aunt Bev helped to raise me (age 0-2 years) or when my father remarried (age 2- 9) and then the times when his girlfriends lived with us. Aside from the stable role that my Aunt has played in my life since day one, female relationships have not proven to be longstanding sources of strength or guidance for me. In fact, female relationships are something that often feels forced and unnatural to me which may explain why most of my very best friends have always been men.

Several years ago, I read Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” and that book showed me that my relationship with Seth was incredibly abusive despite the fact that my relationship lacked physical abuse which is the standard that society seems to cling to. After reading the book, I felt validated and clear. I felt as though Lundy had secretly crawled into my home, installed a hidden camera and then wrote about my life. I was riveted as Lundy broke down the different personality types of abusive men such as “Mr. Right” and “The Water Torturer.” I remember sending him an email to thank him for his work – I didNM2 not need a reply back…I simply wanted him to know that his words had an impact on my life and my path to healing.

Each year, Lundy holds a retreat and each year since reading his book, I have received notifications of the retreat. A variety of factors have prevented my attendance at the retreats in the past however, this year when the notification came through, I jumped at the opportunity and filled out the application at record speed. Because enrollment for the retreat was limited to 20 people and registration was done by mail, I drove my registration form straight to the post office. Then, I decided to bypass the anxiety that would normally come while waiting to be notified if I was “in” and I bought a plane ticket! Something just felt right about this and I knew that this was the year I needed to be at “The Life That Awaits You” retreat. (Thankfully, the notification came a few weeks later!)

As the calendar pages were flipped and the retreat was fast approaching, I began to panic a bit. I was so far along in my healing – was I going to take a spot that someone else really needed? What if I were the only one who had not endured physical abuse in past relationships? What if I didn’t fit in with the other women? Coming off a recent experience with a female friendship that completely knocked the wind out of me; you could say I was feeling anxious about being at a retreat so far away from home….with a bunch of women. Deep breath. It’s only 2 days I reminded myself repeatedly.

I arrived in Connecticut a day early and a group text message ensued between four of the women who were attending the retreat. After a series of text messages, I could tell that I was going to fit right in with this group. I met up with one of the attendees for a glass of wine the night before the retreat and felt even more at ease. The next day, I made the 90-minute commute to the retreat with four women who will now hold a place in my heart for life…and that was just the beginning of the weekend.

The retreat was held in Plainfield, Massachusetts – a gorgeous, snow-covered area which was quite a ways off the beaten path and the perfect spot for bonds to form and for broken hearts and tattered souls to heal. Everyone was there for the same reason regardless of the form of abuse they endured, duration of abuse or the severity of abuse. Everyone was united by an experience that only someone who has endured abuse can understand – there was power and comfort in knowing that everyone was there for the same reason. Within minutes of entering the retreat, I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I express myself best by using words however; I am left with few words that could properly describe how healing and powerful this retreat was for me…and for the women who surrounded me. There was deep laughter and deep tears – all of the emotions, good and bad were healing in their own right. There were unbreakable bonds formed and lifelong memories made. For me, the realness and rawness of the experience was intense. Everyone showed up and was present in the moment. They were all open and willing. There was no judgment – only love. These women were inspiring regardless of where they were on their journey – from those who were just leaving an abusive relationship to those who had 10 years of healing under their belt. These women came together through unfortunate circumstances and supported each other 100%. They listened. They comforted. They all worked together to heal.

As we pulled away from the retreat and made our way to the airport, I noticed that it was International Women’s Day. I now understand the importance of bonding with incredible women and my life is so much richer for this experience. I came to the retreat to work through some lingering issues from the past and while my goal was accomplished, I left with so much more than I ever imagined. I am forever thankful to Lundy Bancroft for what he has done and what he continues to do in this world. I truly believe that he is an angel among us. While gratitude is a daily practice for me, the gratitude that I feel today is circulating through every cell in my body. Thank you, Lundy…for all you do.

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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. 

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.

 

Peace, Divorce Coaching and OMB Non-Profit Updates

Peace, Divorce Coaching and OMB Non-Profit Updates
Cover

Our new logo (Photo by Sarah Lennox)

by Tina Swithin

My long overdue blog and updates.

Where to even begin?

I have peace.

I feel like peace is something that I’ve yearned for my entire life. It always seemed to be lingering just beyond my reach. I could see it and was able to grab a piece of it once in a while…. but it always seemed to slip from my fingers as soon as I tried to hold on to it. My childhood was enough to make most Child Psychologists cringe and then there was my adult years….a series of horrible relationships and then….Hurricane Seth.

Fast forward to today: I have a husband who loves me – I feel that love….it is more than just empty words. I wake up in the morning and I feel content. I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be. My daughters are happy. They are safe. They also have peace. I even have the white picket fence around my house. I didn’t plan for a white picket fence life….but I am happy to have it. I like the way peace feels in the deepest parts of my soul.

We haven’t heard from Seth since last October when the court ruled that he can no longer have contact with the girls. Seth who? Enough about that guy. We did hear from “that guy’s” mom, Cleo….apparently, she is moving back to the United States after spending about 15 years teaching overseas in Saudi Arabia. She notified the girls that she is moving back via a Christmas card. Joy to the world…not.  I have had a sinking feeling in my stomach. The thought of Grandparent’s Rights has always weighed heavily on my mind however, my mind is at ease after speaking to several attorneys.  Let’s just say that chances of hell freezing over and pigs growing unicorn horns are more concerning than my local court awarding Cleo time with the girls.

My wish for 2015 is that each and every one of you have peace waiting just around the corner. I want to share this feeling with every person who has been bruised, beaten and broken by the Family Court System.

High Conflict Divorce Coach:

Two weeks ago, I took a leap of faith. I quit my super stable career in Public Relations. We all hear the phrase, “Find a job that you love and you will never work a day in your life” but that sounded like pipe dream fluff to me. Now I get it. Six months ago, I launched my new business as a Divorce Coach and I have officially found my calling. Last week, I asked clients for testimonials and the response I received was humbling…and further confirmed that my leap of faith doesn’t require a back-up plan. I am doing exactly what I was called to do.  Here is a quote from one of my regular clients:

“Tina has been an essential part of my journey. There was a time when I was so alone in the custody battle; a time when I felt utterly confused, afraid, and overwhelmed by lawyers, court dates, and a punitive, unreasonable, terrifying ex husband who had this knack of pulling it together in front of other people. I searched for ways to cope, to understand, and to find a way through but was stunned by the lack of resources…until I found Tina. And then everything started to change. Tina’s role as a coach has literally changed my life and the course of my journey through this process. Over the past 8 months, she has helped me strategize, think through complicated legal situations and proposals, set boundaries, draft more effective emails, and better understand both the legal and psychological issues I was facing. She is prepared, focused, and full of insight and ideas. Most importantly, she helped me reconnect with myself and to not let fear take me away from what I knew to be true and right. Our sessions have made me stronger, hopeful, and certainly wiser. I am beyond grateful to Tina. She has been invaluable to me and I can’t imagine going through this without her!”

Yesterday, I was walking on the beach and catching up with an old friend. As I was explaining to her what I was doing, she said, “You are like a doula. A divorce doula!”  — it made me laugh but it is so true. According to DONA International, “Doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning ‘a woman who serves’ and is used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.” I remember hiring a Doula for the birth of my first daughter, Piper, and I was so incredibly thankful I did. She was there for me every step of the way. Being a “divorce doula” is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Please come over and “like” my personal Facebook page where I share inspiration and positive quotes.

One Mom’s Battle- a Non-Profit:

Aside from Divorce Coaching, my free time will be spent volunteering as President of the non-profit organization, “One Mom’s Battle.” We just completed the 501(c)3 paperwork and are well on our way towards tax-exempt status!  Our first board meeting will be held this month. We have such an amazing team lined up….OMB has a new logo which we are so thrilled about (thank you, Larissa!).   As they say, it takes a village!

In other exciting news, a new OMB website is underway thanks to the dedication of the amazing Valerie. SO many positive things happening – we look forward to all that 2015 has to offer! Cheers to providing support for survivors while educating the Family Court System! Cheers to making CHANGES!  I have personally seen it here in my local court system – I look forward to seeing change happen across the world.

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The Lemonade Club: Currently, The Lemonade Club is not accepting new applicants. The forum is being moved and improved.  For more information and to be added to the waiting list, please email Tina@onemomsbattle.com

Divorce Coaching: Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries, navigate the system and regain your power. Email Tina Swithin for an intake packet: tina@onemomsbattle.com. Follow Tina’s personal Facebook page for daily inspiration.

Books: 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.

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