by Tina Swithin
I have been struggling with how to process the events that have unfolded in my life over the past two months. If you missed my July e-newsletter, click here to get up to speed.
I have met many challenges dating back to childhood traumas but I have always dusted myself off and faced each bump head on. This one has knocked me down harder than anything I’ve ever experienced. My ex-brother-in-law, Jason Porter was one of the biggest sources of contention in my custody battle. While I knew he was incredibly ill, it was deeper and more evil than I ever imagined. In my gut I always knew that he had the capacity to molest children but over the years, it’s obvious that he has become bolder and more brazen. ALWAYS listen to your gut. It is never wrong.
When I say that I was knocked down, that is an understatement. After the initial arrest, my ex-brother-in-law was out on bail and I was left suffering with panic attacks. This is a man who has been suicidal and homicidal for years and if his entire world had crashed, what did he possibly have to lose? I hold the “truth card” about Jason and his family and that made me a target. I didn’t even want to be in my own home. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I felt like a sitting duck while in my office and stopped going to work. I wanted to go into hiding yet that is easier said than done and takes significant financial resources.
On July 15, Jason was taken into custody in Southern California and held on the highest bail in my county: 7 million dollars. He was slammed with a slew of charges that I still can’t bring myself to read in detail because of the vile, disturbing nature of what he has done….and the harsh reality of what he has always been capable of. The media storm has been in full force – cameras in the courtroom seeking a glimpse of this monster. Other inmates questioning why his bail is set so high and curious about what he has done to warrant this. Biker’s Against Child Abuse in the courtroom making their presence known. And…me in the courtroom…
Someone asked why I would subject myself to his court appearances. The question initially struck me as odd. I can’t imagine not being there. I am there to represent all of the innocent children in this case. I am there to represent the parents of the children who have had their world’s destroyed. I am there for my own healing (that is going to take time) and to personally watch justice being served after all these years of knowing who he was…and being dismissed by everyone in his family and in the family court system. I want him to see my face and my husband’s face every time he is escorted into that courtroom.
On Jason’s first court date, he was out of custody and actually smirked several times. He tried to make a joke when the Judge asked him about scheduling a new court date. His first court appearance while in custody brought him down a notch but he still carried the same cocky attitude and smirk. With two more court dates under his belt while shackled like the monster that he is, his demeanor has changed. My husband said he looked “institutionalized” on this last round – the grey in his hair is now noticeable and his face looks sunken. The smirk is gone and reality has hit him: 14 of the charges that he is facing carry life sentences…as they should.
This series of events has left me devastated. My business has suffered and when you are self employed and trying to rebuild your life, that is not a good thing. My clients have had to take a backseat because most days, I haven’t felt capable of helping myself let alone anyone else. I cut my client load in half because I needed to practice what I preach: self care. My landlord at my office building contacted me two weeks into the month asking if I planned to pay July rent. I. Forgot. To. Pay. My. Rent!!! That was a wake-up call – the rest of the world was still rotating around the sun but I felt as though my world had stopped. I knew that I needed to pull myself together.
I questioned why I had felt so strong during my custody battle but every ounce of my strength seemed to have vanished with that one phone call notifying me that Jason stood accused of child molestation. Rebecca of OMB summed it up as she always does: during my custody battle, things felt out of control but I still held some control in the fact that I could file a motion with the court, ask for a new evaluation, report to minor’s counsel or hire a PI to collect information. I stayed busy building my case and documenting. With this, everything was spinning out of control and all I could do was watch. When my phone would ring, my heart would sink. When a Facebook message request came through from a complete stranger who had been harmed in the past (emotionally or sexually) from my ex-brother-in-law, I would feel waves of panic take over my body. When someone sent me a message stating she “heard” that Jason had been released from jail despite the 7 million dollar bail, I had a full blown panic attack — thankfully, that was a false alarm but I went into fight or flight mode within a nano second. Every time a news story broke, I felt a sense of panic.
I plan to do what Tina’s do best: get back up and dust myself off. I placed a new date on calendar to officially change Piper and Sarah’s last name to “Swithin” and that court date is on September 21st. With this new court date, I needed to serve Seth and submit proof of that service to the court. This is where the humor comes into the story…silly Seth. I was able to locate his address with the help of a super savvy friend and confirm it with a private detective. A 5.5 million dollar mansion. I almost fell out of my chair. A 5.5 million dollar home and he claims to be impoverished. He’s lived there for over two years. Additional research shows that he bought a brand-new car in June – it’s paid off. He is $40,000 in arrears. I drive a 2011 car and my children don’t have a college savings account…but back to reality, we are taking about a narcissist here. They have different priorities.
I found a process server (Rui of Bay Area Process Servers) in Northern California. Rui was known to serve the unservable and that he did. On the third day of attempted service, Rui staked out Seth’s home. Literally. Midnight on a random Wednesday, who comes riding up on his bicycle so inebriated that he can barely open the door to his Mc Mansion (that he claims NOT to live in)? You guessed it, Seth. The amazing Rui even took photos of Seth being served…drunk, on a random Wednesday night. I have seen Seth “annihilated drunk” a few times during our marriage and when I saw the photos, I knew that this was a man on an incredibly pitiful downward spiral. The pathetic nature of the entire situation – he is so rich that he is poor. A 42-year old “man” riding a bicycle drunk to his big home on a Wednesday night because he lost his driver’s license. He was so drunk that he could barely open his front door. There have been quite a few angels on my path over the years and Rui the Process Server scores up at the top. He told me, “I’m going to get him, Tina” and that he did.
One foot in front of the other — step by step: Forget day by day, it has felt like step by step and minute by minute. My daughter’s began school this week and I am thankful that I am being forced into a schedule. This ensures that I will actually get out of my pajamas and into a routine. I sit here typing from The Lemonade Stand (aka my office) for the first time in a very long time. It feels good to be here. I am easing back into my coaching practice and I will hold onto my faith while trusting that everything is unfolding the way it is supposed to. I pushed “pause” to catch my breath – I am human and sometimes, we need to give ourselves a break from the battle.
I’d like to end on A HUGE positive: media is listening. It is next to impossible to get them to cover Family Law cases due to the liability and threat of lawsuits. I was recently contacted by a reporter who had heard the buzz about my case, my ex-brother-in-law and my battle in Family Court. He spent a considerable amount of time digging through public records (my case) at the courthouse and wrote this piece: Family of Paso molestation defendant warned court of volatile behavior. True to narcissistic fashion, Seth is threatening to sue me and local media outlets…because it’s obviously MY fault that his brother stands accused of child molestation and child porn. It is MY fault that the records are open to the public.
If you’ve read this far, thank you! Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts over the past couple of months. Thank you for your support and encouragement. Thank you!
Divorcing a Narcissist: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
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.
Tina Swithin offers annual retreats, coaching services and more at www.tinaswithin.com