This battle started as “One Mom’s Battle” but it has become a village. Together, this village will make changes in the Family Court System and will bring awareness to Narcissistic Personality Disorder. What started as a lonely journey has turned into a family of men and women who are “in the trenches” and working to ensure that the Family Court System starts to do what it was designed to do: act in the best interest of the children.
THE TEAM AT ONE MOM’S BATTLE
In 2008, I heard three words that would forever change my life. As quickly as my therapist said the words, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder,” I wanted her to take them back. I didn’t want to hear that my marriage was irreparable. I didn’t want to hear that there was no hope for my husband. I was in a lonely, empty and verbally abusive marriage yet I was still not ready to throw in the towel. I left my therapist’s office that day and I did not return to see her for over four years.
I spent the remainder of 2008 trying to salvage my marriage. As the victim of gas lighting, a stealth form of emotional abuse which is generally delivered by individuals with personality disorders, I was a shell of the person I had been prior to meeting Seth. I was no longer a bright, bubbly, free-spirit– I was insecure and filled with self-doubt. During that year, I began to discover that my marriage was fraught with lies and deception. In the beginning of 2009, a second therapist (our marital counselor) suggested that Seth undergo a psychological evaluation and that day, he walked out of therapy and proclaimed that our marriage was over.
I quickly discovered that there is only one thing worse than being married to a narcissist and that is divorcing a narcissist. I also discovered that the Family Court System is not equipped or educated on Cluster B personality disorders. Individuals (male and females) who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are generally charming and charismatic. They are also pathological liars who are skilled at deceiving those around them whether it be in the business world, political arena or sadly, in the courtroom. Because perjury is not punishable in Family Court, this venue becomes a playground for the narcissist and winning becomes their driving force.
My battle began in 2009 when I went from a 4,000 foot home in a gated community to my local women’s shelter – this was the very shelter that I had volunteered my time for many years. To be on the “other side” was the most humbling experience of my life. I lost everything in one short year: my business, my home, my cars and my marriage. I then spent the next four years entangled in one of the worst custody battles to enter the San Luis Obispo Family Court System. During this time, I acted as my own attorney and had to dig deep for inner strength. I found God and learned what “faith” really means.
My battle came to an end in July of 2013 when I was awarded full legal and physical custody of my daughters, ages 6 and 8. Not only did my battle come to an end but I received validation when the courts handed down final custody orders consisting of professionally supervised visits. After four long and exhausting years, my daughters are finally safe. This is a story about not giving up. This is a lesson about believing in yourself and what you can accomplish when the odds are against you.
This is about my experience in the Family Court System and the frustrations that came as a result of this broken system. This isn’t about mother’s rights or father’s rights. It’s about a child’s right to be happy, safe and loved.
MR. OMB (Tina’s Husband, Glenn)
Glenn (Mr. OMB) and Tina met in 2009 and he has been her rock throughout her four year custody battle and divorce. What started as a beautiful friendship turned into a marriage in 2013 when Glenn and Tina tied the knot in front of their closest family members and friends.
It says a lot about a person who can weather the storm that a Narcissist so carefully creates. Throughout this Category Five Hurricane, Glenn has protected Tina and her daughters from the torrential downpours, strong winds and the debris that Seth left them standing in.
Glenn has been a part of Tina’s journey since the very beginning and has witnessed the good, bad and the ugly. He has supported Tina through late-night paperwork preparation, filled in for the girls’ Father-Daughter Dance when Seth stood them up and has been her main support system during every step of this journey. Tina considers herself blessed that God placed him in her life at the perfect time.
Lucy is a Proud Mom, Wife, Daughter, Entrepreneur, MBA, C-Suite leader and most of all, grateful for being able to build her life back up to where it is today after hitting rock bottom when she was living with a diagnosed Narcissist. She is eternally appreciative of her family, her friends, her health and all of the daily adventures, good and some not-always-so-good, which help us all connect the dots looking backwards and make us who we are today.
After mustering up every last bit of energy and courage she had a few years ago to break free from her very controlled and dictated “princess life”, Lucy strongly believes that life really does begin at the end of your comfort zone. Still dealing with a highly toxic, expensive and seemingly non-ending post-divorce situation now, Lucy has started to share her story with others in hopes of doing her part to make a small difference and bring together the many that persevere through life with similar stories. She strongly believes that we all need to support, encourage and inform others about this true personality disorder called Narcissism. Lucy grew up with a Narcissistic father, who to this very day proudly sits on the opposite side of the courtroom in support his “adopted” Ex Son-In-Law. He has never once asked to hear the other side of the story from his very own biological daughter. Why? Because the need to always “win and be right” even seems to trump a parent’s proclaimed unconditional love for a child when one is a Narcissist.
We all have stories. And we all have choices. Some days you just have to spray on that extra thick shield of Teflon and face your battles, and at the end of that day just be thankful you survived one more. Lucy advocates that it’s time to take care of ourselves and each other. It’s time to become a more united informed group who has comfort in knowing we ourselves are not alone, and our kids are not alone in dealing with the Narcissistic people in their young lives that they haven’t even started to fully understand or comprehend yet.
“Live life smiling and give it all you’ve got” are words Lucy holds very true to her heart. In honor of her mother, sisters, aunt, her own children and countless others surviving through their own NPD feats each and every day, Lucy bravely shares her story and encourages others to share theirs as we join together to make our voices heard. -Lucy K. Wright
Seeking a private forum for advice, inspiration and support? Join Tina and the Lemonade Warriors in The Lemonade Club! For information, please email Tina@onemomsbattle.com.
Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s book, “Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle” is available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.