Author Archives: Tina

Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield (Foreword)

Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield (Foreword)

Front coverby Rebecca Davis Merritt 

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or other Cluster B personality disorders such as Antisocial and Borderline) emotionally abuse those in their daily family lives. This emotional abuse is a form of domestic violence affecting the other parent, children, extended family, and institutional settings (school and family court) have to deal with this abuse. Narcissistic parents will harm their children even if they love them because their impaired empathy and hypersensitivity to real and imagined wrongs causes them to blame the other parent, to lash out at people they perceive to not be on their side, and to do everything in their power to convince the family court system of their superiority over the other parent. Narcissists vary in their abilities to hide their abusive side in the presence of esteemed others; those with better impression management skills are more successful in their court battles. If Narcissists gain primary custody of their children they usually move toward alienating the children from their other parent, delighting in not following parenting time guidelines or court documents.  If they do not gain primary custody they generally moved toward painting the other parents as responsible for their estrangement from the children instead of acknowledging behaviors directed toward the other parent and children have made the children distrusting of them and skeptical of spending safe time with them. The narcissist will try to use parental alienation by the healthy parent to convince the court of the need to switch custody.  Such a switch places the children in a consistently emotionally and/or physically abusive environment. The Narcissist “gaslights” the children and other parent, trying to convince them that the other parent is at fault for everything, cannot be trusted, and that the children MUST obey and support him/her at every moment.  Phone calls or Skype parenting time with other parent will be heavily monitored, children will be coached, and contact will end if they misspeak.  Clear guidelines need to be placed in parenting time documents regarding no monitoring of electronic parenting time, no confiscation of tablets or phones used in this communication, with sanctions outlined for violation.

Tina Swithin, is a dynamic individual with a mission to increase awareness of narcissism and its impact upon shared parenting and divorce among the judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad litems, Parenting Coordinators, and attorneys handling divorce and custody cases in our family court systems. Her Facebook group is viewed by thousands of people navigating the treacherous courtroom terrain associated with leaving a narcissist and protecting their children from narcissistic rage, gas lighting, and emotional abuse. Her online community is a village of survivors united in problem solving and making positive educational and dynamic changes in the family court system.  Tina and her village hope to get court personnel to realize that one disturbed individual can create and maintain high conflict divorce cases inundating the court with years of unnecessary grievances while tasking the economic and psychological resources of the unaffected parent.  The demand upon the court’s time created by vengeful narcissists could be lessened if court personnel could identify patterns associated with Cluster B personality disorders, recognize the need of a thorough psychological evaluation for such people, understand the need for clear sanctions (including making the disturbed parent responsible for legal representation bills of the other parent), and take timely steps to protect children and the other parent. It is my fervent hope that Tina’s books will make their way into the courtrooms of every family court judge as well as all domestic violence agencies.

Tina developed her expertise and knowledge the hard way – marrying and divorcing a narcissist.  I (Rebecca Davis Merritt); developed my expertise the easy way, years of graduate school, obtaining the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, working as a professor at Purdue University for more than 20 years where I taught doctoral students how to assess, diagnose, and treat individuals with personality disorders. My skill set included a good understanding of the dynamics driving Cluster B personality disorders.  When a family member married and divorced an individual with these dynamics I observed the damage experienced by children when the court is slow to recognize the severity of Cluster B disorders and fail to protect promptly children.  Court often assumes both parties are equally to blame for creating and maintaining a high conflict case, so the unaffected parent is treated as skeptically as the narcissistic parent.  This is confusing to the unaffected parent who often listens to the narcissist spouting lies in the courtroom and describing self as the most devoted, caring parent.  The courts may eventually recognize the need to take action and protect children of narcissistic parents but the slowness to take action results in prolonged emotional abuse during crucial developmental stages.  Thousands of men and women in the family court system are battling with a narcissist, their children are not being protected, and the court may grant primary custody to the narcissist who is able to glibly lie and manipulate in court.  Narcissistic parents voluntarily delinquent in child support will cry in court as they protest their undying love for their children and yet judges will fail to recognize the discrepancy between courtroom statements and their behaviors outside of the courtroom brought to the courts attention (not paying child support when they have the ability to do so, emotionally and/or physically harming the children, stalking/threatening the other parent etc.). When unaffected parents become anxious or depressed from dealing with the narcissist’s abusive behaviors, they may be deemed psychologically unstable, placing them at risk of losing custody to the abuser.  When their children report emotional abuse by the narcissistic parent, the courts and CPS too frequently conclude that the unaffected parent is alienating the children from the narcissistic parent.  It is a challenge of immense proportion to set and maintain appropriate boundaries within the family and within the family court setting with narcissists.  A careful reading of Tina’s book Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield (ISBN-10: 0615986344) will help the unaffected parent increase their coping strategies and skills in dealing with a narcissist and helping their children recognize when and how to set boundaries with their narcissistic parent.  This book will also be a valuable resource for all those participating in family court as it will help them develop an understanding of narcissism and its impact upon families and the court. Finally for those just learning about narcissism Tina’s first book “Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” (ISBN-10: 0615720552), “Divorce Poison” by Richard Warshak (ISBN-10: 0061862162), and “Splitting” by Bill Eddy (ISBN: 1608820254) should be useful.

NOTE FROM TINA: I thought it was very important to share this message and I encourage you to share Rebecca’s words with attorneys, GALs, social workers, Judges, etc.  Thank you for being a part of this amazing little village.

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

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 a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin at www.tinaswithin.com

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

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Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott: Watching a Narcissist in Action

Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott: Watching a Narcissist in Action

toriby Tina Swithin

I still remember watching Beverly Hills 90210 in high school and being completely enthralled with the show as a 16-year old girl. I will be the first to admit that my guilty pleasure for years has been reality television. My interest in reality television has evolved in recent years due to my work surrounding personality disorders. The cameras seem to attract personality disordered individuals like moths on my porch light. I find myself fascinated that there isn’t more awareness surrounding Narcissistic Personality Disorder as it is increasingly prevalent and very obvious on shows like The Real Housewives and now, True Tori.

Yesterday, we received a message on the One Mom’s Battle Facebook page that said the following:

True Tori…is on Tuesday nights on the Lifetime channel (10Eastern/9Central). It’s a reality show following the aftermath of Tori Spelling’s cheating, alcohol/sex/drug addict husband and whether she is going to stay or leave him.

He is a classic narcissist or worse a sociopath narcissist who has Tori and her counselor jumping through his manipulative hoops. He is a masterful puppet master who does not own up to what he has done and he will not allow Tori to speak her feelings he is constantly interrupting and turning everything back to him.

If you go to Lifetime.com then click on “TrueTori” you can watch the first two episodes. It’s interesting to watch a narc in action from this side. And yes she cheated on her husband with this man but if you truly have educated yourself on the behavior of a narc especially love bombing, pity play, gas lighting abuse you will know that she was conned out of her marriage and right into a marriage with this narc. So out of respect of another women (Tori) who is just a victim of a narcissist I hope that you will give her the same respect that you deserve as a victim. Thank you.

I’ve grown up watching Tori Spelling on television and have watched her “Tori and Dean” reality television a handful of times over the years. Something never sat right with me as I watched their perfect life which always seemed too perfect. It reminded me of the fake life I once lived. I would see media stories about Tori discussing their money issues and then hear that Dean McDermott was angered by her honesty. Now, watching their current reality television series, “True Tori” has put all of the pieces together for me.  It’s almost painful to watch.

I encourage you to watch the episodes but I will warn you, his behavior is a trigger for anyone who has been with a Narcissist or a sociopath. I have watched Dean McDermott sit on the couch of Dr. Ann Wexler over the past two episodes and it brought up so many memories for me. I am in shock that the Doctor is actually being manipulated and jumping through the hoops McDermott is holding out for her. He is presenting classic narcissistic behavior and my heart goes out to Tori Spelling. I hope that she becomes educated on Narcissistic Personality Disorder quickly.

In true narcissistic fashion, Dean has taken his affair and turned it around to be Tori’s fault for not giving him enough sex (while she’s running around caring for four small children), he then creates a pity party surrounding his rough past and addictions and finally, he re-claims the spotlight whenever she tries to share her hurt or her feelings by talking about suicide and having a breakdown. If his breakdown is actually real, it has more to do that he has been exposed and nothing to do with the fact that he cheated on his wife.

Here is a link to the episodes on Lifetime: True Tori

I agree with the woman who posted on the Facebook page, it is very interesting to watch a narcissist in action.

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

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 Divorce Coaching through your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin through her coaching website at www.tinaswithin.com

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: L and her Little One

Divorcing a Narcissist: L and her Little One

littleby Tina Swithin

I have a strong belief that God places people on our path for a reason. Sometimes we are supposed to learn from them and sometimes they are supposed to learn from us. Sometimes, we may be learning and growing together. About two years ago (when OMB was a small group!) I received a message from a young lady named, “L” who had been dealt a very bad hand of cards. Her ex-narcissist essentially took her son for a visit and then manipulated the court system to his advantage in an effort to rip her very young son right out of his mother’s loving arms. L was left devastated and desperate to make the courts listen to her.

L and I began communicating when her son, “Little” was only two years old and I have watched this courageous mom from the sidelines as she battled to regain custody in a system that doesn’t understand NPD. She acted as her own attorney in this battle and never gave up hope. Her positive attitude inspires me and even when she was dealt blows by the system, she handled it with grace. Over the past couple of years, L has re-married a kind, loving man and together they had a beautiful baby girl.

Through the many ups and downs of this battle, L never gave up fighting for her Little and last night around 10:30pm, I received the text message that I’ve been waiting for. The Judge had made his decision on Friday and it appeared in the online system last night: L received full physical and legal custody of Little. I sat at my kitchen table trying to absorb the news. I am so proud to know L and I am filled with gratitude that Little is finally home where he belongs. I am filled with hope because two years ago, her case seemed daunting and overwhelming on many levels. Despite all  that L was going through, she single-handedly coordinated the opening of 100 OMB Cheer Teams and donated countless hours to helping others at OMB.

I often tell others to never give up because I’ve seen the most dire circumstances turn completely around.  L and Little are living proof of this.

On May 8th, Little will celebrate his 4th birthday but bigger then that, he will celebrate his new life with his mommy. Rebecca and I have started a small collection to ensure that Little has an amazing celebration and to give L a financial boost as her family just grew to include the love of an amazing little boy named Little. If you’d like to assist with Little’s birthday celebration and the start of his new life free of abuse and filled with love, please click here. If all you can do is send love, they are accepting that also!

Little will always hold a place in my heart and so will his mommy.  L — I am SO proud of you!!!!  YOU are an inspiration to many and we love you and your family so much!  Thank you for all you do to keep our OMB Cheer Teams running smoothly! <3 Tina

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

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 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.

An Open Letter to Gwyneth Paltrow

An Open Letter to Gwyneth Paltrow

gwyneth-paltrowA Guest Blog by Teleah Grand

Dear Gwyneth Paltrow,

This is a letter to you from the trenches. You know, The trenches where you think you live; but in reality have never been near, much less in. I am a single mother of two. Working when my children were little and I was married, was somewhat of a choice because, with sacrifice, we could have gotten along with only my husbands salary. Not easily, mind you, but we could have done it…. I worked hard on earning a doctorate in veterinary medicine and felt the call to work and better myself in my profession. So I made the choice, as have you, to work and raise children. I never complained about how hard it was, because it was my choice. Was it difficult, sure. Do I think you have any idea how difficult it was, no. I do not think you, with your many support personnel at your beck and call, have any idea how difficult it is to choose to work, run a household and raise children.

My job, however, soon became a necessity during and after the divorce to be able to properly care for myself and my children. To reiterate, working was not a choice but a necessity. I was actually one of the lucky ones that had the education and training to be able to support my children, again not easily, nor without sacrifice, without help. Imagine all the stay at home mothers out there who have to find “routine” jobs with no skills or education. I’m sure they have no choice but to accept the “routine” job they get. Yet, you state they have it so much “easier” than you. I think not.

I do not, as most women do not, have a 9-5 job. My job is 8-6 M,T,Th,F (with the occasional Wednesday thrown in), and 8-12 on Saturdays…. I sometimes work through lunch and even into the evenings and the weekend (as I like to call my Sunday off) as I frequently give my clients my cell phone number to call if they have any questions about their ill pets.

My job is not “routine”, most days are not filled with puppy and kitten visits (although the puppy and kitten visits are a lot of fun when they happen), but are instead filled with running tests, doing diagnostics, coming up with treatment plans, and doing surgery to try and save pet’s lives. Fortunately, for the most part, I can accomplish that. Sometimes, no medicine on earth can save a dying pet. So, quite a few of my days are filled with educating pet parents on their pet’s dire prognosis and helping them make end of life decisions. My work sometimes leaves me physically and emotionally exhausted. My work often leaves me financially exhausted, as well, since I am a sole practitioner and not only run my home but also run my business. Slow times happen in any business, and cause major stress when I have a responsibility to pay my employees before I can even think of paying myself. Yet my children and my staff need me so I am there for them, physically, emotionally, and financially. I do not compare myself to others and think that their jobs are easier than mine… Their jobs are simply different and can be just as physically, emotionally and financially draining as mine. I do not complain. I love and accept my choices and responsibility and work hard for the few things I, my children and my staff members have accomplished.

I do not, as most women do not, spend our day, working out, nor rehearsing, doing phone interviews, attending fittings, nor do I miss taking the children to school. If I didn’t take my children to school they would not get there. I do not, as most women do not, have the time, the energy, the assistance, nor the financial resources to have such luxuries. Add into that being a single mother means there is no one else to shoulder the burden. If we are lucky we can depend on friends or family. Hiring someone to help out, run errands, clean house, do laundry, maintain schedules, pay bills, grocery shop, preparing meals, helping with homework, lawn care, home repairs, practice extracurricular activities with the children, read bedtime stories; is, not nor ever will be, an option. We shoulder the burden. We do it because we love our children. We do it because we do not have the extravagant financial resources to do otherwise. Our choices are between paying the electric bill and buying tires needed for the car to pass inspection, not between Louboutin’s or Jimmy Choo’s.

Ms Paltrow, as you “consciously uncouple” with your fancy attorneys, trainers, agents, assistants, and nannies, imagine the rest of the world who go through nasty, down and dirty, plain old divorces. Who have to represent themselves Pro Se because we cant afford an attorney. Imagine us working our “routine” jobs which are usually not in the slightest “routine”. Imagine us having to take a day off work without pay, that we can not afford to do, because we have a sick child. Imagine the rest of us divorced and divorcing women without help, without assistance and struggling without enough time in the day to get everything done…..Without enough money to pay the bills.

As you transition into single working motherhood, I dare you to live one week in my shoes. The ones I buy on sale at a discount shoe store; and only when I have to. Maybe if you walk a mile, you will stop saying such obtuse comments about “working mothers” and their “routine” jobs. We understand you are a working mother. We understand that your career entails certain responsibilities that we do not have. But you need to understand that we have responsibilities that you do not have. And comparing yourself to us, with your abundant resources and luxuries is, frankly, insulting. We would like you to identify with us as single working mothers and will applaud your efforts. But you need to understand the difference between you and the majority of single working mothers. We do not begrudge you or your lifestyle. We do, however, resent your unenlightened attitude. We do not appreciate you comparing your life to ours, nor complaining about it. You should, instead, be grateful and appreciative of the many resources you have available.

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

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 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.

 

Kelly Rutherford’s Custody Battle: Is There a Glimmer of Hope?

Kelly Rutherford’s Custody Battle: Is There a Glimmer of Hope?

by Tina Swithin

I recently wrote about Kelly Rutherford’s custody battle which defies logic on multiple levels. I first connected with Kelly last year and was able to attend her most recent court date on March 19th in Los Angeles Superior Court. Kelly’s case has had a few hopeful moments in recent months:

To read more, please click on today’s article in the Examiner

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

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 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: Advice from the Battlefield

Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield

Front Cover PDFby Tina Swithin

My goal upon publishing my first book in 2012 was to make one person feel less alone in their struggle with NPD and the Family Court System. As of 2014, we have 100 Chapters of One Mom’s Battle so obviously, I’ve accomplished my goal exponentially. I can’t even begin to describe how bittersweet that number is. That number means that there are a lot of people who feel less alone today but it also means that this issue is bigger than I ever imagined. It also means that there are thousands and thousands of children suffering– the same way that my daughters suffered.

When my battle ended in 2013, I knew that I had a lot to offer in terms of tips, advice and most of all, comradery. I’ve been there and it isn’t easy. When my battle started in 2009, I had no idea what I was up against. I was unprepared and I was terrified. Fast forward to where I am today — five years has past (exactly) and I am thriving. I’ve been through the battle and I survived. There were times when I felt like waiving the white flag and I am so thankful that I didn’t. I stayed the course and today, I am living a peaceful life.

For the past nine months, I’ve been plugging away at my new book, “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield.” My first book, “Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” outlined my personal journey through the Family Court System and this new book takes my battle a step further by offering tactical advice and inspiration from myself and my comrades from the battlefield of the Family Court System. I’ve kept a running list of tips and ideas that pop into my head. I’ve reached out to the “battlefield” and collected words of wisdom and advice from those who are in the trenches. Through this endeavor, I’ve compiled the manual that I wish I had five years ago.

It is my hope and prayer that my new book, “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” will help you as you fight to protect your children. It is my goal that these two books will shed light on Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the Family Court System. It’s time that the individuals who are tasked with the huge responsibility of protecting our children will actually begin to do that.

Here are a few blurbs from some people that I highly respect. The fact that these individuals were willing to endorse my book leaves me feeling humbled:

“You no longer need to go through the ordeal of divorcing a narcissist alone. Others are facing surprisingly similar experiences and while each battle is different, the Family Court System funnels each case through the same channels. Through this battle, Tina Swithin is a beacon of clarity. With Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield,readers will garner sound advice from others navigating the same stormy waters! You will realize that you are not alone, you are not crazy, and someday you will start to whisper “thank you” to the darkness… thank you to the pain, the fear the struggle even thank you to the narcissist ….because in the darkness you will find light you never knew you had inside your heart, strength you never imagined.” -Christie Brinkley, Actress and Supermodel

“Tina’s book has become a lifeline during my custody battle. While reading her first book, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle,” I felt like someone finally understood my battle and then wrote about it. It’s very difficult to explain what happens in the Family Court System and Tina does it beautifully and honestly. I thank Tina on behalf of every one of us who struggled to articulate what we were going through. Thank you for sharing your story so that thousands of men and women feel less alone.  I believe that this book should be a required reading material in all psychology classes and in law schools across the world.” –Kelly Rutherford, Actress, Mom and Philanthropist  

“Divorcing a narcissist isn’t easy, but Tina Swithin provides many of her own tips and numerous suggestions from others to help along the way in her latest book. Personality disorders are not obvious on the surface, which is why many people marry those with these disorders and why many courts are easily misled by them — for months or years. To really understand what is going on takes looking under the surface and knowing what patterns of behavior to look for. By recognizing these patterns, it is possible to plan ahead and predict some of the problems you will face. This book will help you prepare and respond more effectively.” -Bill Eddy, Co-Author of SPLITTING: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder

“The central focus of judges in the family court system should be on children’s rights and protecting the children. Custody determinations should not be based on father’s rights or mother’s rights but based solely on the best interest of the child. When there are accusations of abuse and neglect, it is imperative that these items are taken seriously and investigated by highly skilled and trained individuals. The actions of a parent should be given more consideration than the grandiose statements of the parties. In high conflict custody cases, with the popular presumption that equal parenting time or 50/50 custody is fair to both parents, the children’s safety, stability and best interest are too often ignored and overlooked while decisions are hastily made due to blanket assumptions about scorned parents and limited court time. While an equal parenting time arrangement may work between two healthy parents, it absolutely does not work when one or both parents are determined to lie, manipulate, alienate and abuse the children in the name of winning at all costs. When one party is focused on self and not on the children, children suffer immensely and litigation is exponentially prolonged creating instability and a dangerous environment for children.”–Chelsea Storey, Family Law Attorney

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

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.

Monroe County New York: CPS Failure

Monroe County New York: CPS Failure

stopDear New York,

Monroe County CPS is failing to protect children. Erie County is under the microscope because of the death of little Eian Brooks. I hope I am not the first to point out that you have this all backwards. You are supposed to act to prevent deaths and child abuse but sadly, you wait until a child is tortured and dies before you examine your policies and staff members.

I have been following a specific case in Monroe County for quite some time. I feel this mother’s pain even though we’ve never officially met. She is in New York and I am in California. We are separated by thousands of miles but united by cell phone as I anxiously await text messages from her on the weekends that her son is with his abuser. I am relieved to hear that she’s spoken with her son because that means he is still alive. I am even more relieved when she sends me a message to let me know that he is back in her car after a visit with his father.

His father is supposed to love him but he doesn’t. He tortures him. There is an army of people documenting this abuse and currently, there are 14 CPS reports filed with Monroe County…two of them are still open and active cases. These have been filed by mandated reporters. I have viewed photos of the bruises and I have even personally reached out to Deborah Rosen, Director of Monroe County CPS to no avail. This mother is a true Warrior by every definition of the word. She has taken this to the Governor and she’s even taken it to President Obama.  She is sent in circles….being pushed from one agency to another.

Someone needs to protect this child and many others who are suffering at the hands of this inept agency. The documentation on this case is mind-blowing. I have reviewed it and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is a complete failure of the system.

This is a small snippet into the life of this mother and child as published on the Stop Abuse Campaign.

by Anonymous Warrior Mom

It is a typical Monday morning as I get my son ready for school, having his clothes all laid out the evening before.  I get him out of bed to get him dressed as I do every morning. My little blonde haired son, big blue eyes, trying to fight back the tears, shakes his head “No mommy, I don’t want to wear that shirt today to school.”

“It is your favorite shirt, Spider Man.”

“No mommy.”

 He goes over to his dresser to pull out a long sleeve shirt and hands it to me as his eyes fill up with tears.  I have seen that look so many Monday mornings. The routine has become too familiar.

As I slowly take his shirt off, our eyes fixed on each other, both fighting back the tears that are welling up in our eyes, trying to hide the bruises. Bruises that he got on his weekend visit with someone that is supposed to love him.  Without him saying one word to me, I know where those bruises came from.  They are all over his little body, some big, some small.  As I finish getting him dressed, he gives me a big hug and whispers in my ear, “thank you mommy.  Now no one will see my boo boos.”

I give him a big hug and say “I love you.”

This is what I think of when I read about the Kansas “spanking bill” 2699. This is what I think about when I read anything that normalizes or endorses corporal punishment. As long is corporal punishment against children is used, it will be over-used. The state officials who I’ve turned to in order to protect my son have told me again and again “corporal punishment is legal in New York.” What is considered “excessive” is a matter of opinion.

It’s the State’s opinion.

It’s my son.

And he’s hurt.

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

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.

Divorcing a Narcissist: A Blessed Life

Divorcing a Narcissist: A Blessed Life

Oh-So-Gratefulby Tina Swithin

I finished writing my new book at about 11:56pm on Friday night. I was exhausted after weeks of late nights, trying to keep my day job, being a full time mom/wife and juggling everything else on my plate. I have been feeling drained. Depleted and overwhelmed in all areas of my life. Sending the book to my editor was the light at the end of the tunnel after 6 months of planning and writing.

Lately, I struggle to answer all of the messages that come in and feel guilty about that because I can literally feel the desperation in the emails that I receive. My guilt comes from knowing that someone just sat down and wrote out three pages of their life story yet I don’t know how to find the time to read it let alone give a heartfelt response. I am a fixer and I want to save every person that writes me….I want to save their children. I could use many expletives to tell you how I feel about this system but I know that I don’t have to explain it to you. You know because you are living it in some way. Even if its a past experience, you are still dealing with some type of debris from your battle.

I woke up this morning and didn’t feel like doing anything. I am behind on work, emails and laundry and couldn’t find anything to wear to church….one of those days. I told Glenn I didn’t want to go because I was on the verge of a wardrobe crisis meltdown and he verbalized that he needed to go….and he wanted to go. I threw on an old shirt, leggings and sandals and decided that God really didn’t care what I looked like. In that moment, I realized that Glenn’s prodding was probably for a reason and that today’s message at church was probably a message that I needed to hear.

Sure enough, the Pastor speaking was the same man who married Glenn and I. Pastor Bobby is my hero and leads by example. When I was the women’s shelter in 2009, he pulled out his personal checkbook and gave me $200….but he didn’t even know me. We had never met. All Bobby knew was that I was a single mom and that I was in need. I will never forget that moment and hope to have that impact on others the way Bobby has had on me.

Today’s subject was “The Blessed Life: A Life of Generosity” and it restored me and replenished my soul. I am blessed. The trials and tribulations that I experienced were for a reason and I know that. I know that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and that is the most comforting feeling in the world. I hope to get to a place where I can dedicate myself 100% to this mission and to the people who are feeling desperate and depleted by this battle. I am blessed by the Administrators who help me manage this village, I am blessed by my relationships with the women in The Lemonade Club and I am blessed by each of you who are a part of my journey.

Even when I was a single mom without money for groceries and loosing my car to repossession… I was still blessed and I knew that. I planted seeds of gratitude early in my life and despite what was happening around me, I watered those seeds and nurtured them as they grew.

I am blessed and I am thankful.

As Pastor Bobby said today, “Encouragement and listening is oxygen for the soul.”  I believe that and I am thankful to the village of people who come together and encourage each other.  Together, we can do this.  <3 Tina

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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.

 

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: Phone Calls from Seth

Divorcing a Narcissist: Phone Calls from Seth

Bizarro_Logoby Tina Swithin

February 10th, 2014 marked seven months since the girls have seen Seth. Seven months without contact because his ego is bigger than his love for these two little girls. Although he hasn’t seen them in seven months, he still calls once per week. The phone calls are bizarre at best.  Seth weighs in on their extra curricular activities in some calls telling them that he doesn’t agree with horseback riding as it is too dirty.

Back in September, the girls told him that we got a puppy. He asked what kind it was and they told him: a black, female Standard Poodle puppy named Pixie. He laughed in his creepy, weird laugh and asked if they knew that we used to have Standard Poodles (when he and I were married). They did know and said just that.

In January, Seth called and sounded completely manic. Before the girls could even say “hello,” Seth blurted out, “Guess where I am?!” This was the conversation as it unfolded:

“Where?” Piper asks him.

“I am buying a dog right now! Guess what kind?” Seth says

“What kind?”  Piper asks him

“A black, Standard Poodle Puppy. A little girl!” states Seth.

The girls both stare at the phone confused.

“That’s what we have” says Piper

“What?! What did you just say?! Repeat that.  YOU have a black Standard Poodle puppy?!” he asks

“Yes” the girls respond.

Enter twilight zone music here. Glenn and I both remembered the conversation with him back in September. The girls remember the conversation from September. They have both made multiple comments over the past month about how bizarre Seth is.

Last week, Seth called and said he missed the girls. He then said to Piper, “We will have to figure out a way to see each other soon.” She looked at me and rolled her eyes. She is almost 9 and she is incredibly intelligent. She knows that all Seth has to do is fill out the paperwork and arrange a visit. This could be categorized under the titled, “Are you smarter than a third-grader?”

Tonight Seth called and began asking the girls about horseback riding lessons. He asked if they were still doing gymnastics and they said that they weren’t and explained that mom allowed them to do one extracurricular activity at a time to which he replied, “I think you should be able to do anything that you want. You are only a child once and you should be able to do all the activities that you want.” He continued to ramble on this topic for a couple more sentences which I tried to tune out.

Thankfully, I have a court order which allows me to record all of Seth’s calls which originated from the time he called stumbling drunk on Father’s Day. Good times. The calls get filed into the “Bizarro File” to be used later down the line.

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

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.

 

 

The Plight to Save Annie and her Sons

The Plight to Save Annie and her Sons

teddyby Tina Swithin

Many of you have stepped forward over the recent month to help Annie, a single mother facing jail time for doing what mothers were designed to do: protect their young. All assistance has been greatly appreciated whether it came in the form of a signature on Annie’s petition or a donation (large or small). The Family Court System is failing each and every day however, this case is a prime example of a Judge ruling with his ego versus what is in the best interest of the child. Judge Phillip Robinson of  Tennessee is about to throw a loving mother behind bars and send two small children to live with their father despite substantial evidence that he has abused these two little boys.

To read Annie’s story, click here: One Mom’s Battle: Annie Miller

I recently reached out to Annie for an update on her story and sadly, there is nothing positive to report.  Annie has come forward with an open letter to the men and women who have assisted her with prayers, positive thoughts and donations of any size. If you haven’t donated, please do and if you haven’t signed the petition, please do. I have personally read the court transcripts and believe that there is something very wrong happening in this courtroom.

A Note of Thanks from Annie Miller

I fail to believe there is a word gracious enough for all that has been done by kind people like you on behalf of my children.

Thank you.

Sadly- to this day, justice has not been served and I am still facing more jail time and will likely lose custody of my children. I still need your help to spread the word and help raise as much awareness as possible.

I am now facing more jail time and the potential loss of my children because I followed the advisement of Legal Counsel. I did not ignore the instructions of Judge Robinson- rather I followed the instructions of Wisconsin Counselors, Lawyers, and Judges who ordered me to keep my children in Wisconsin while the abuse investigations were on going. I have nothing to hide. I am simply protecting my children. I would have been in violation regardless of which court order I followed- the Wisconsin counselor’s recommendation to immediately suspend visitation with their father along with the Wisconsin court order to keep my children away from their father or Judge Robinson’s court order to turn my children over to their father. I assumed that the newer order from Wisconsin would be considered by Judge Robinson yet it was ignored and dismissed without an investigation of the current situation or the serious abuse allegations.

I realize this situation is complicated and I would like to share some facts since you’ve been kind enough to invest your time and money in my children and me. I encourage you to share these facts with as many of your friends and loved ones as possible.

  • Please click below to read the four-page letter from my Wisconsin attorney to Judge Robinson which will clarify some important facts and will help you understand my position and reasons for not bring the children to Tennessee. Judge Robinson has refused to read this letter even though the attorney testified to these facts via the court telephone.

Letter from Scott D. Metz (Family Law Attorney in Wisconsin- practicing for 32 years)

  1. Page One
  2. Page Two
  3. Page Three
  4. Page Four
  • I was allowed to move to Wisconsin in 2012 as a part of Judge Robinson’s court order.
  • In February 2013, a 3rd party (not me) reported concerns of child abuse – that were then investigated by Wisconsin Child Protective Services.
  • After the forensic investigation, Wisconsin Child Protective Services recommended that the father’s custody be suspended immediately due to their concerns about the safety of my children. This is the decision that prevented the children from being with their father during Spring Break of 2013. I was found guilty of criminal contempt by Judge Robinson for this even though the counselor testified to these facts via court telephone.
  • After reviewing documents from the Wisconsin abuse investigation and from the children’s counselor, a Wisconsin Judge signed a temporary restraining order against the child’s father therefore preventing me from bringing the children to Tennessee during the summer of 2013. I was advised that the abuse investigation should be concluded before the children could be in their father’s care. I was found guilty of criminal contempt by Judge Robinson for this as well.

Surprisingly, I still have faith in our judicial system however, I do believe that these situations would be better served by a jury of our peers rather than by someone who can take a position without being accountable for the consequences it has on the children that it directly affects. I followed the law, the legal advice and I followed my heart as a parent.

If you research what is happening in our family courts in regards to abuse and what happens when it is reported it is mind bending. If our family justice system serves to silence the voices of the very people it was designed to protect in order to validate the power of one, we all are in danger.

Read more on this at these 2 links:

Nancy Lee Grahn: Thoughts on Dylan Farrow 
One Mom’s Battle: Tina Swithin

Using the arms of the law for abuse is unacceptable. This has consequences (scary ones at that ) far beyond my family. Because if a parent follows the law, the advice of professionals (educated and government officials), attempts to co parent and stands with the truth yet faces losing their children and incarceration, our sons, our daughters, your wives, your mothers, your fathers and everyone is in danger of losing their voice.

Again I cannot express adequately how much your time and money (much of which came from people who are struggling themselves) and support means to us . Please have faith that some good will come of this, that my sons will have the integrity to move forward in this world with the voice you have given them to help others .

Namaste, Annie

Click to sign Annie’s Petition:http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/judge-places-mother-in

Click to donate to Annie’s legal fund: http://www.gofundme.com/682u68 

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

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.