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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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 Custody Evaluation and the Enabling Mother

The Custody Evaluation and the Enabling Mother

The Enabling Mother and a Broken Family Court Systemby Tina Swithin

Yesterday, I discussed the 2010 Custody Evaluation that placed my daughters in the “family home” of my ex-brother-in-law, Jason Porter, despite my concerns about him which were expressed in great detail during the evaluation. This ex brother-in-law is currently being housed in San Luis Obispo County jail on an unprecedented seven million dollar bail facing 31 charges of child molestation and child abuse. I was told that this may be the largest child sex abuse case in our county in 15-years. I am heartbroken because this was preventable.

During the 2010 custody evaluation, I was hopeful. The evaluator, Noelia de la Torre of Family Court Services in San Luis Obispo, seemed to see the issues at hand. At one point she even called Child Welfare Services on my ex-husband during the investigation when he left my (then) three-year old daughter in a car unattended for 45 minutes immediately after a hospitalization for a complex seizure. There were strict orders in place that our daughter could not be unattended – even for a moment.

At hopeful as I was about the evaluation uncovering the truth, my heart sank when the evaluator mentioned that she would be interviewing my ex-husband’s mother in person. At the time, she was teaching overseas (home for summers and holidays) but she was well aware of all of the issues because she had either witnessed them in person or was told about each issue by phone or email. She was the only one Seth would listen to so I tried for years to get her to help. Initially, my pleas were for her to get both of her sons into therapy. As my marriage came to an end, my pleas changed to begging. I didn’t feel safe and I knew my children weren’t safe. While I knew she was the most knowledgeable person when it came to the issues I was facing with her sons, she was also the most dangerous because she was so skilled at enabling their behaviors and doing damage control for her family. She was as skilled as Mel Gibson’s PR firm when it came to spit-shining her family’s public image due to years of practice with her own husband.

I sat down and wrote a letter to the evaluator expressing my concerns – this is a snippet of that letter:

Noelia, I am very confused about the relevance of interviewing my mother-in-law and I hope you can help me to understand the importance of the interview.  My concern lies in the fact that she has had very limited interaction with my daughters– limited to a couple of weeks during Christmas and summers which her time is divided between her sons in Northern California and Southern California.  I think she saw the girls for a total of four days in December of 2009 and prior to that once or twice a week in July and August of 2009.  As you know, she lives overseas and while their family appears very healthy on the outside (degrees in education, long marriage, extremely personable, etc), she is one of the most dysfunctional people that I know. 

Does she love the girls- yes. She has played a large part in our marital problems due to her inability to recognize the problems in her sons (Jason and Seth both) and is very manipulative.  This is a woman who sat in Applebees listening to her eldest son, Jason talk about raping and murdering a woman in Texas without flinching.  I accompanied her son Jason to counseling when they tried to brush the issues under the table. This is also a woman who watched as I grabbed my daughter and fled Jason‘s home as he systematically beat 8 tiny puppies (10 weeks old) one at a time until they were screaming in pain.     

As you can see by many of the emails in your possession, I have reached out to my mother-in-law for help on many occasions to no avail.  She is very much in denial about problems that exist within her family.  I am concerned because I think it would be more helpful (and relevant) to interview people who have been a part of our family (mine, Seth’s and the girls) on an ongoing basis.  People who have seen my parenting up close and personal– the girls’ Godmother who has been in our family since Piper was five months old on a monthly (weekly and daily) basis consistently.

Your email through me off a bit as I am trying to find the relevance in an interview with my mother-in-law.  She is very good at painting a rosy picture; regardless if there is truth in it.  I hope that you can help me to understand and once again, I greatly appreciate your time.   

Sincerely, Tina

My aunt then wrote the evaluator because she was equally concerned about this interview:

Seth and his family live in a fake world that has been very well constructed by educated, intelligent, sick people.  They seem to operate in a world where calm denial is the motto. If you pretend something didn’t happen, if you do not talk about it, if you hide it well enough everything is fine. Go ahead and lie, cheat, deceive, commit crimes, hurt people……it’s all OK if no one admits to it, doesn’t talk about it, and if you drive a BMW.  If you have a degree, a good job, and a nice smile, all is well in their world.  Well, from what I see, their world is a sick place ruled by Seth’s mother.  Tina has tried over and over again to get her to help Seth and help their situation–to no avail. Tina is more than capable of speaking for herself so I have not needed to take action nor has Tina asked me to speak on her behalf except on rare occasions. I have tried through emails and the one phone discussion with Seth’s mom –with Tina’s approval.  Tina has felt that she is the only person in that family that may be able to influence Seth to get help.  I feel that she has an extreme need to be perfect and to avoid conflict at all cost.  Even though I do not believe Seth will ever get help or change I had to try.

My plea to Seth’s mom was not professionally based. It came from Tina’s Auntie Bev. (I serve her in a mother-like role.  She is my girl in my heart.)  It was a plea that came from one mom to another.  I hoped if I just let my raw emotions talk for me that it may bust through her iron mask and have an effect.  It evoked some emotion from her……but obviously not the emotion I had hoped.  In fact, her response unfortunately confirmed to me that she is not willing/able to be honest with this situation.  I will never contact her again for help.  I will respond to her email at some point…. mom to mom. – Aunt Bev

The evaluator bought Seth’s mom’s well-oiled, family sales pitch and all of the sudden, all of the evidence I had presented about Jason Porter and this family was brushed aside. On the SLO Family Court website, it states that their goal is “a healthy relationship with both parents.” That goal needs to change. Parental rights once again seem to supersede children’s rights. Acting in the best interest of the child should be the goal. In high-conflict divorces such as mine, the common denominator is typically a Cluster B personality disordered individual which means that both parents are not capable of having a healthy relationship with the child. The disordered parent has a goal of winning and controlling at all costs.

I tried for so long to break through to Seth’s mom — in voicing my frustrations to Seth’s Aunt about the issues, she responded with this:

Re ..the family keeping things “hush hush..”  I think my sister (Seth’s mom) is overly discrete… about how she tries to keep major family problems quiet.  I guess,  in her heart,  she is trying to protect people’s privacy and to guard the person against any possible embarrassment.

She did a fantastic job of covering major family problems and keeping them quiet. She protected their privacy and she guarded the family from embarrassment at the expense of many children. The reality is, Seth’s mom is a mandated reporter and has been since I met the family. She had a legal obligation (and a court order) to protect my children, your children and any children in her care. She brushed everything under the rug and not only that, went above and beyond to cover and lie for her sons. While her sons may have been beyond help, she had an obligation to protect children and she failed miserable. When I first heard about the arrest, I was distraught and beside myself — and I sent her a message. Her response: to shift the blame and tell me how “heartsick” SHE was — what about these nine victims (and counting)?! Here are some snippets of her response:

NO, I DID NOT KNOW about Jason, contrary to your accusations.  I also did not know that you had received an advanced degree in behavioral psychology which apparently qualifies you to label Seth as a narcissist and Jason as ‘sick.’ I am heartsick and physically ill…not that that matters to you.

What I do know: I know that since your and Seth’s painful, ugly divorce nine years ago, you have taken every opportunity to slander, defame, and gossip about our family in a thinly disguised as ‘anonymous’ yet very public blog and among your circle of friends and community. I know that you have profited personally and financially from dragging our personal lives into your ‘fame.’  What kind of person gloats and celebrates and makes public the pain of another? What kind of person continues to do so for nine years? You are divorced. You have sole custody of the girls. What happens in my family is no longer a concern of yours.

I know that your self-righteous compulsion to drag our family name and reputation through the dirt in your thinly disguised ‘anonymous’ blog  – which anyone with half a brain can trace to us – is destructive, malicious, and deliberately hurtful with no regard for the consequences to me. I know that at one point we were close and you were extremely helpful to my son and I during his serious depression.

I know that I love and will always love Piper and Sarah.

I know that filing a restraining order against our family is an absurd publicity stunt. We HAVE HAD no contact. I have NOT initiated any further contact since you asked me not to months ago. Trust me, we are not going to reach out so what possible purpose would you have in doing so except to create more sensationalist material for your blog?

I know that my personal compassion and principles would never allow me to wish upon you, nor upon any person, the public humiliation and sadness that your ongoing attacks, “your battle” as you call it, have caused me and our family. I have never attacked you back; I have never intimated about your boat/bikini girl days, or your failed child care business and money owed.

I know that you are continuing to google, and email, and incite people against Jason and against our family.  Example from your earlier slander: “three men living alone in a home with a Thai bought bride.” How vindictive. How hateful. I know that you have leaked the connection between Jason’s arrest, and my job, and that there is a very real possibility I will lose my job because of what you have done to make this even more public.

Despite all this, and only for the sake of Piper and Sarah, I will honestly consider your text request from yesterday (for Seth to terminate his parental rights). But only if the blogging and emailing to incite against Jason stops, only if your harassment of our family ceases  – by you and anyone affiliated with you. – Seth’s mom

All of her hard work…all of these years of spit-shining the family image gone…her son’s true colors have been revealed by HIS doing. Yet somehow, I am to blame for the publicity this case has received? No compassion for his victims…only concern about her job. As much as I know about this family, you would think I would stop being shocked by their actions.

To the families who have been affected by this sick, evil monster: my heart breaks for you. My heart breaks for all of us. This tragedy was preventable. It didn’t have to happen. These issues should not have been minimized or brushed under the rug — these issues have been glaring for years and they were ignored and covered up. Everyone who has been affected is in my daily prayers. I give you my word that I will not stop until the people who have allowed this to happen are held accountable. — Tina Swithin

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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.

Failure in the Family Court System: 31 Counts of Child Molestation

Failure in the Family Court System: 31 Counts of Child Molestation
PORTER, JASON ROBERT A00667845by Tina Swithin
Many of you know about “Robert” from my book, “Divorcing a Narcissist.” While I worked hard to protect this family’s identity for many years, he has thrust himself into the spotlight as the monster I’ve always known him to be. I have been BEGGING this monster’s family to get him help since 2003. The Family Court System has been aware of my concerns since 2009 yet NO ONE listened to me.
 
  • NINE (9) victims identified so far – additional children remain unidentified. 
  • THIRTY-ONE (31) charges so far – many carry life sentences.
  • An unprecedented $7 MILLION dollar bail.
In 2010, Noelia de la Torre of Family Court Services in San Luis Obispo conducted a 3111 Custody Evaluation. During that evaluation, Jason Porter’s mother swooped in and brushed all of my concerns under the rug. This custody evaluator bought her story….hook, line and sinker despite overwhelming evidence that he was a danger to my daughters and others. I have begged his mother to get him help for years and during our marriage, Seth and I were united in our decision to keep our daughters away from him. The day our marriage ended, he began bringing our daughters around this sick man.
 
My aunt sent an email to Noelia de la Torre during the custody evaluation BEGGING her to listen to us. This was a snippet of the email: 
“Do I believe Tina when she tells me that Seth’s brother Jason and his father returned from a trip to Thailand and that they went to a bar where young women/girls sit under the bar to give men blow jobs while they drink? Yes. Do I believe Tina when she tells me that she sat through dinner with Seth and his family while Jason talked about murdering and raping women–and that his mother didn’t miss a bite or flinch? Yes. Am I disturbed that Seth’s mother prides herself with being a degreed counselor and yet she fails to counsel her sons or encourage them to learn to be better parents and human beings through the benefit of counseling? Yes.”
At the conclusion of the evaluation, Noelia sat my ex-husband and I down and went over her recommendations. When she told me that she recommended my daughters be allowed access to Jason Porter, I had to leave the room to compose myself. She then bullied me into signing her proposed parenting plan which allowed this monster access to my children. My ex-husband and his mother were court-ordered to never leave the children unaccompanied with Jason Porter but this was a family who had already proven their inability to tell the truth or to follow court orders. 
I sat in the courtroom on Tuesday. This evil monster was shackled and wearing orange. He did not enter a plea. He saw me sitting there and he will see me at every court date until he is behind bars. I will speak out for the rest of my life about how the Family Court System failed my family. I will speak out for the rest of my life about how his mother failed. This woman, a mandated reporter, was basically residing in a child porn factory. Yes, you read that right…Jason lived with his parents and his Thai bride….and he was abusing all of these innocent children right under their nose.

Divorcing a Narcissist: When the Truth Finally Prevails

Divorcing a Narcissist: When the Truth Finally Prevails

Porter mugby Tina Swithin

July 12, 2016

Three years ago this month, the Family Court System (San Luis Obispo) finally got it right. For years, I had acted as my own attorney in a custody battle that received international media attention. I was up against my ex-husband, Seth and his attorney but also a family that defied evil. Aside from my ex-husband, my greatest fear was his disturbed older brother and his father who was known in several counties as the “pervert principal.” Even scarier, his enabling mother who worked overtime to spit-shine the family image and brush things under the rug. While I hold my ex-husband, his brother and his father accountable for their evil ways, I find the most fault with their mother who was conscious enough and able to prevent the destruction caused by these men. Instead, she lied over and over for her family – even under oath when it came time to protect my daughters, her granddaughters. Had she not worked so hard to keep the family image perfect and shiny, many lives would have been spared pain and heartache.

On Tuesday, June 28th, I had picked up my daughters and their friend from soccer camp and we made a run to the pet store. Then the phone call from my husband came. “What is your ex-brother-in-law’s middle name?” I told him and then I heard, “Oh my God. I have the craziest news. Can you talk?” I immediately began to shake and I told the three girls to head over to the pet section and wait for me. I sat down on a bench as he read the headlines: “Mother finds her 6-year-old girl with 44-year-old man.”

I was now in the midst of full-blown PTSD and needed to get off the phone. This was my worst nightmare. I couldn’t catch my breath. I grabbed a few things from the store while in a complete daze and headed home with the girls. I couldn’t get to my computer fast enough to read the news which was now breaking in every media outlet in my area. My husband was choked up and I was barely holding it together.

THIS is the brother that I fought SO hard to keep my daughters away from.

THIS is the man whom I live in fear of.

SO many mixed feelings – while validation describes some of the feelings, it isn’t the right word because there is a victim involved.

The layers with this brother are so deep that I don’t even know where to begin. In my first book, Divorcing a Narcissist, I refer to him as, “Robert,” and for consistency sake, this is how I will refer to him here. In the beginning of my relationship with Seth, I was very close with Robert. I thought of him as a big brother. I quickly began to see things that bothered me and those things mounted to the point that I was terrified of Robert. From 2001 to 2006, I begged and pleaded for Robert’s mom to get him help. He was homicidal, suicidal, beat puppies and made out with a 14-year old girl at a wedding. It was her first kiss…he was 30 years old. His mom sat eating chips and dip as he spoke of murdering and raping a woman – she just kept eating without missing a beat.

My first daughter, Piper, was born in 2005 and a year later, my then-husband Seth and I decided that our children would never be around this man. Their mother begged me to put my feelings aside and “pretend” to be a happy family during family gatherings and holidays. I refused. That caused major tension in the family. I didn’t care. My second daughter was born in 2007 and I still refused to allow my children around Robert.I remember one night in 2008 during a really rocky time in my marriage, Seth took Piper to a family gathering an hour away. Seth and his mom promised me that Robert would not be present. When I found out through another family member that Robert was in fact at the gathering, I got in my car and drove to the event, barging in and removing Piper from the house. Seth’s aunt (and mom) followed me out to my car telling me how unreasonable I was. I didn’t care – I felt that strongly about protecting my children.

When Seth and I finally separated in 2009, I was insistent that Seth keep the girls away from his brother but on his first night with the girls, he brought them around Robert and they obviously conversed about me. Within an hour, I received the following text message from Robert:“First off, don’t make rules you can’t enforce you stupid cunt. Second, I don’t need anything to do with ur kids….you and Seth have obviously got them pretty fucked up already. Get a life far away from my family you greedy bitch.” 

Self-doubt set in. If I stayed with Seth, I could protect my kids but divorcing him opened the door to things I couldn’t even fathom. One of my biggest concerns was Robert. This was a man who talked about raping and killing women, secretly took photos under women’s skirts in grocery stores and was extremely racist and homophobic. With all of the things I knew about Robert, I was sure that the Family Court System would uphold my wishes and listen to my concerns. I was wrong.

In 2009, I was thankful when the court issued an order that the children could not be around Robert. Seth violated this order multiple times and each time, I called the police. In 2010, a custody evaluation was completed and I listened intently as the evaluator went through her recommendations point by point. I had to leave the room and compose myself when I heard her describe the new order pertaining to Robert. He was now permitted to be around my children on 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas – the family’s favorite holidays. As long as Seth or his mother were around, they could be at Robert’s home. The evaluator told me that I could either sign the parenting plan that she was proposing or I could fight it. If I fought it, I would be charged $3,000 for the evaluation and the court would go with her recommendation anyway. If I agreed with what she wrote, she would type it up and we would go on our merry way — I was backed into a corner. As a single mom who was barely able to buy groceries, I was intimidated by the thought of a $3,000 bill when I didn’t even have $300 to my name. I was intimidated by the reality of the Family Court System and the fact that I didn’t have an attorney. I signed the order sitting in front of me with tears in my eyes.

Seth’s mom, Cleo, had successfully sold the evaluator a rosy story about how Robert was a changed man. She said he had anger issues in the past but he had turned a new leaf – he was now married with a child. The reality was: he BOUGHT a bride on one of his disturbing excursions to Thailand. The evaluator dismissed all of my concerns and placed my children in Robert’s clutches. I was sickened to my core. Within months of the court order going into effect, Seth was already violating it. He took the girls to Robert’s house on January 2nd and claimed that the date was “close enough” to Christmas which was an approved date in the court order. I promptly called the sheriff and got the violation documented.

In 2011, Seth fought the existing order and the judge relented. Now, my daughters could be around Robert ANYTIME as long as Cleo or Seth were present. Not only did Seth have my daughters around Robert, he began residing in his home on his weekend parenting time. The issues began immediately. My daughters came home claiming that Robert had placed a large, blown-up, framed photo of me on his fireplace mantel – my image was taped over with electrical tape. Robert, Seth and their father referred to me as, “T-Rex” which upset my daughters on a regular basis but my biggest fear was not the photo or the names – it was my fear that Seth’s father or his brother would molest my daughters. I remember seeing a photo of Robert holding my youngest daughter in his swimming pool and I felt like vomiting.

For the past three years, my daughters have been safe – the last time they saw Robert, Seth or anyone from their family, they were 6 and 8-years old. The little girl that he was caught abusing is only six-years old. My heart breaks for this child and for her family. They are living my worst nightmare. My heart breaks for my children and for all they’ve been through. This entire week has been a fog and I’ve had to resort to Xanax to carry me through –which I rarely do. This is another example of the Family Court System failing our children – my daughters should have never been allowed in that house. Never.

This is also an example to keep fighting and never lose faith. I never believed that Robert would be caught – his parents are well-known in our community and Robert is a local business owner. His mom works so hard to keep their public image squeaky clean and perfect. They believe themselves to be untouchable and I had begun to believe that also. I believe that everything happens in God’s perfect timing – while I struggle to understand why my children suffered, your children suffer and this poor little girl is suffering, I believe that this man will finally be stopped and unable to hurt any other children. I believe this family will finally be shown for who they really are. I believe that my children will persevere and that your children will also. Never give up and never stop fighting for your babies….you never know what the next chapter holds.

The truth always prevails.

If your children have been around “Robert” (aka Jason Porter), investigators request that you call the police department at (805) 237-6464 or Crime Stoppers at (805) 549-STOP.

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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 Lemonade Power Retreat: October 21-23, 2016.

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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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.