Author Archives: Tina

Divorcing a Narcissist: Be Your Own Valentine

Divorcing a Narcissist: Be Your Own Valentine

to meby Tina Swithin

There is something about being single during Valentine’s Day. I heard that- no gagging noises allowed!  :)

Valentine’s Day seems to be like a highlighter which makes a difficult situation even more pronounced. Everyone is gushing about how in love they are and filling the air with mushiness. To those who are not in love or even worse, those who are nursing a broken heart; it can be an excruciating and painful holiday.

I had a revelation in church a few years ago. I felt a wave of pity for Seth when I put our battle aside in my mind and realized that I had the ability to love. I had the ability to care about others and to empathize with people who were hurt or struggling. Despite how heavy that my heart felt during our custody battle, I had a heart that felt.

Seth never would be able to feel or love or empathize. He could pretend to be in love and the recipient of his over the top cards, poems and flowers may believe that he is in love with her but it isn’t possible. Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder aren’t capable of the love that you and I can experience.

You may not be experiencing love and joy today however, I invite you to shift the way are thinking about it. Relish in the fact that you are able to experience those feelings. Be your own Valentine. I believe that when you are able to patch your wounds and truly learn to love yourself, you will be in a position to experience a healthy loving relationship. If you aren’t in that place now then declare today is the day!

Today you will be your own Valentine – shower yourself with kind and loving words. Give yourself a huge hug. Cook yourself a dinner and enjoy a glass of wine and a bubble bath. Write yourself a love letter. Be the kind of person that you want to attract – be the best Valentine that you possibly can.

Be YOUR Valentine.

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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 Sociopath: Another Face of One Mom’s Battle

Divorcing a Sociopath: Another Face of One Mom’s Battle

mom child

Note from Tina: Through this battle, I have connected with some amazing men and women. Some I have connected with on a deep level — and their battle becomes my battle. Today’s guest blogger is someone whose battle  became my battle. This woman is like a sister to me- we met pre-battle and I have cheered her on every step of the way. Her little one is finally safe and because of that, my heart is happy.

Another Voice of One Mom’s Battle:

Have you ever felt truly desperate? Not the habitual yearning for that first cup of coffee in the morning type of desperate. Or the too stressed out, must have a glass of wine (now!) type either.

I mean the soul crushing, bring you to your knees desperation when your life as you know it is crashing down around you. That which confirms you are merely an actor in the pathetic, sadistic existence that is your life. That desperation. Are you feeling me now?

I have felt this way twice in my life. Many times I was at the end of my rope, no place to turn, with no honest means of digging myself out of a particular situation. But twice, I have been on my knees, ready to throw in the towel. To give up. Accept my fate, as long as it was better than the hell penetrating my heart and every ounce of my being.

I was married to a sociopath. The scary type. The type of husband that leaves knots in your stomach morning, noon, and night. The one that makes your heart pound, your hands sweat, and leaves you shaking uncontrollably since you have no control over anything, least of all what he will do next. Everything you have ever known about yourself is now a huge ball of insecurity. You know the type. I’m certain you do.

The first time I ever felt truly desperate was the moment I realized my days were numbered. The instant I knew that if I did not escape that wretched excuse for a marriage, my life and my child’s life would be over.

Maybe not right away. I had slowly been dying for years. Every day was more brutal than the one prior. But eventually, I was going to die in this marriage.

I knew either he was going to kill me, or I was going to kill him. It had gotten that bad. After years of his threats, abuse, and addictions, he threatened to kill me. It was 4th of July weekend 2009. I remember it vividly.

In front of my child, in an extremely drunken rage, he manically screamed at me to, “shut the fuck up, or I will shut you up forever.” I believed him. I knew he was capable of it.

Guess what I did? I begged for help like my life, and my child’s life, depended on it more than anything in my world ever had before.

That night after he had passed out stoned and drunk, and my child was asleep, I shut myself in my bathroom and crumbled into a heap on the bathroom floor.

I prayed like I never had before. I told God that I was empty. Hollow. Broken. And scared. Desperate! I had no idea how I had gotten so deep with a person who controlled every aspect of my existence. I had no idea how to fight for my life.

I asked God for help. I prayed with agonizing certainty that I would not survive if He didn’t show Himself to me and make it absolutely clear what He wanted me to do. I would either end up dead, or I would end up in prison and leave my child motherless if I killed the SOB in a desperate attempt to protect myself and my child.

My mind began circling around me in a dark, swirling haze of fear, hate, and surrender. I was sobbing, yet had no tears. I was numb. I was dying. Inside and out, I was a shell of the person I had once been.

As soon as it began, it was over. I was calm. Scared to death, but calm. A booming voice in my head was telling me, “I am helping you.”

The voice told me that no matter what the monster sleeping in the next room told me from that moment forward, I was not to believe it. If he told me again I was a worthless piece of shit, I was not to believe a word of it.

The voice filled my soul with love and hope. The love I felt in church as a child, that I knew came from a power greater than anything I could ever fathom. The unconditional love of my Maker.

He never left me. I turned away from Him during those dark years, but He never left my side. I knew it to be true. There was no mistaking it. I knew in that instant, my child and I were going to be alright.

Fast forward ten months later. A lot happened in those ten months. I lost my father to heart disease. I left (finally!) the nightmare of the abusive marriage.

I saved my child and myself. I secured a little rental house for the two of us, the dog, and the cat. I successfully filed and received a domestic violence restraining order with the guidance of a women’s’ shelter. I filed for divorce, pro se.

I lived off my part time job without child or spousal support. I got groceries from the food bank at a local church. Had some utility bills paid by the graciousness of a local Catholic charity, just before our water and power were shut off. I borrowed some money from my brother and sister-in-law to make my car payment, which had fallen behind.

Soon after came the second feeling of utter desperation. I had gotten out. But I had no idea what to do. I had no money. Zilch. Just enough to pay the rent on our little house and put gas in my car.

How was I supposed to raise a child on my own, with a part-time income? To put food on the table while fighting a high-conflict custody battle with a sociopathic, abusive addict? To stand, victoriously on my own two feet, when I didn’t even know where our next meal was coming from?

Again, I was on my knees. After I put my daughter to sleep that night, I crumbled on my bedroom floor. When desperate, when you feel like you have no clue how to go on, you crumble. Your legs fail. Your knees give out, and you’re on the damn floor.

Once again, I begged God to show me what in the world I was supposed to do to support myself and my child.

I made a promise to God that night, one that He reminds me of daily when the small voice in my head reminds me where I came from. Where I’ve been. And where I’m going, come hell or high water.

I promised God that if He helped me—provided the answers I desperately needed—I would devote the rest of my lift to serving Him. Some way, somehow, I would dedicate my existence to living the life He intended for me. I pledged, in that desperate heap on my bedroom floor, if He saved my life (again!), that I would be faithful to Him until my dying day.

I dragged myself off the floor and fell asleep crying. I woke up with a clear head, and a clear heart. I could breathe. I felt—wait for it—almost happy. I felt free. I surrendered the fight and gave it to God. He was in charge now. Not me. He would see us through to the end. I didn’t know how. I just knew it was true. I had to pay attention to His signs, really listen, and trust when it was time for me to act.

Fast forward a few months later. My company was advertising a position that was senior to that which I held at the time. I read the job description and knew I was qualified, albeit a long shot. It was located 250 miles away from where my child and I lived—from my hometown.

I applied; what did I have to lose? After a series of interviews, I was selected over 60 other applicants, and offered a promotion.

I was awarded 100% sole legal and physical custody of my child and granted a move-away order in family court. I was going to support my little family on a salary three times what I was making.

We moved. We struggled. We fought. We won.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Desperation brings us to our knees. This life we live is a blessing. It may feel like a living hell at times. In those moments, we have the ability to completely give up ourselves and surrender. Ask for help, receive it, and listen.

I am blessed because I listened to the voice. I gave up control when it was obvious I had no control over anything. What a huge relief, to be able to give the heavy burden to someone else!

I let God guide my actions, my thoughts, and every move I made. It saved my life, and the life of my child. I am forever indebted to God’s grace and mercy.

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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: Peter Cook’s Internal Feud

Divorcing a Narcissist: Peter Cook’s Internal Feud

Narc-decoderby Tina Swithin

Along with the rest of the world, I have become intimately familiar with the ongoing feud between Peter Cook and Peter Cook.

No, that wasn’t a typo. I did not mean to say, “the ongoing feud between Peter Cook and Christie Brinkley.” By definition, it takes two people to feud and Christie Brinkley has taken the high road throughout this long and drawn out battle. Christie has practiced the number one rule while divorcing a narcissist: do not engage.

Peter Cook’s most recent (and desperate) vie for attention appeared in Radar Online which highlights an email that Cook wrote in the wake of Christie Brinkley’s feature in People Magazine:

Christie,

Over the last 8 years I have taken a lot of hits by way of your gross exaggerations, revisionist history, and self-serving dishonesty, but nothing could be more egregious than this incontrovertible lie. I let you get away with a lot for the sake our children. When you initially filed for divorce and you attempted to prejudice opinion of me by falsely accusing me of EVER being inappropriate with Sailor was the death knell for me as far as you were concerned. That was the day I took my wedding ring off.

You know I could not love or care for my children more, and that I have NEVER raised my hand to ANYONE, or surely you would not have encourage my adoption of Jack 3-years after we married. That you could so blatantly lie about such a sacred trust to position yourself as a victim once again is disgraceful. I didn’t think you could get any lower in you endeavors to stay relevant in the media than through your relentless trashing of the father of your children, and I don’t care about you or what motivates you to now perpetuate this horrific lie, and then to have your PR team work so diligently to see it is perpetuated throughout all possible media outlets… but I insist that you immediately demand that they work as thoroughly and dilligently to issue YOUR PERSONAL public correction/retraction and demand this libelous content be wiped from the media, immediately.

Nothing could be more upsetting than being falsely accused of being abusive to one’s children, particularly given the irony that the greatest abuse these children have endured is your insistence on publicizing our trial, our divorce these many years later, and making them suffer your need for attention at any and all cost:

“Brinkley won a large settlement, especially after revelation of Cook’s heavy hand on the three children.”

That’s just one of MANY sources carrying your line.

In PEOPLE Magazine you state your “50′s weren’t easy” because you “…went through a miserable divorce (from architect Peter Cook) while trying TO BE A PILLAR FOR MY KIDS…”

There is nothing about YOU FIGHTING and CAMPAIGNING to see our divorce proceedings were publicized, making our private lives media fodder for our children to have to endure for GOOGLE eternity, making false and dishonest statements about the father of your children and making every effort to alienate the children from their father that qualifies you as being a “pillar” for our children! –Peter Cook

Anyone who follows my blog at One Mom’s Battle knows about my infamous “Narc Decoder” which is a patent pending machine created to help people understand the special language exclusive to individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I am convinced that one day, the NPD manual will be uncovered from a secret hiding spot because the NPD language is not unique and in fact, if you’ve seen one narcissistic email, you’ve seen them all. I will be honest in saying that when I first read Peter’s email and based on its content, I assumed that Christie’s interview with People Magazine was chock full of details of her divorce proceedings.

In the interview which spanned five-pages, there was no mention of Peter Cook other than the following quote by Ms. Brinkley, “My 50′s weren’t easy. I lost both my parents and went through a miserable divorce while trying to be a pillar for my kids. But I made it through. Now I feel on top of my game.” 

Without further ado, here is the email from Mr. Cook after being processed through the Narc Decoder which, by the way, was smoking and crackling as this little gem passed through it:

Christie,

I am foaming at the mouth over the fact that you are receiving press (again) and that you look so happy. Please sit tight as I project my own behaviors, gross exaggerations and self-serving dishonesty onto you. I may even minimize my own past and current behavior while I’m at it because that is what narcissists generally do!

The day that I (first) took my wedding ring off was the day I began grooming the 15-year old girl whom I met in a toy store. While I was in the toy store under the guise of a doting dad, you and I both know I was there because of the beautiful teenage girl who was working behind the counter. How dare the media pick up on this! The only reason that this even made the news is because YOU are a celebrity. Now that I think about it, I actually believe that my affair was YOUR fault.

I am still quite furious that you didn’t insist on our divorce proceedings being kept sealed and private. Regardless of the fact that all divorces in New York are public record, I really wanted to keep my $3,000 per month porn habit under wraps. Just think how deceitful I could have been while “accidentally” feeding the media my lies. With a sealed divorce, there would have been no way for them to verify any of it. Why can’t you just do what I say?

I am so bitter that the media is interested in you and that at 60 years old, you were picked up by a major modeling agency. My hope is that you will become as ugly on the outside as I am on the inside. Someone out there needs to start believing that you are a selfish monster who is relentlessly trashing me, the father of your children. The challenging part for me is that in all these years, not a single person can actually find a statement where you’ve disparaged me. I am so frustrated by this! I demand that you immediately retract all the things that you never said about me! DO IT NOW!!!!

As you know, I have needlessly dragged our children through the media because my narcissistic supply sits on empty the vast majority of the time. My “refuel” light starts flashing every single time you receive media attention and as we both know, I prey on those who are uneducated on NPD so that they will report that we are feuding. By definition, it takes two people to feud however; the general population isn’t that smart and they pool us together while the sad reality is that I feud all by myself. Have I mentioned lately how smart I am?

In regards to my statement to Radar Online, “But the excuses for her behavior are dishonest, convenient and increasingly difficult to accept. She’s simply using narcissism to distract from the real conversation.”

What we both know that I meant was this: how dare you use my diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder to explain my behavior. How dare you tell the truth!  – Peter

For more on the divorce of Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook, please click the following links:

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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: Authentic Friendships

Divorcing a Narcissist: Authentic Friendships

Friendshipby Tina Swithin

Last November, I attended a Louise Hay (Hay House) conference that was life changing for me in many ways. While many could label it as a “self help” conference, I was thrilled going into the experience because I was walking in at such a good place in life. I was happy in all aspects of my life: I was married to an amazing man, my children were safe after a four year log custody battle and I believed that I was living an authentic life.

During the conference, we did a lot of meditation work and self reflection. While I’ve never been one to meditate (my brain does NOT slow down long enough!), I was able to meditate for the first time and actually slow my mind down. One of the most thought provoking things came when one of the speakers talked about 2013 being the year to leave toxic relationships behind and 2014 was the year to excel free and clear of drama. Woo hoo!  I was once again ahead of the curve – I was out of the one toxic relationship in my life!  Go me!  Winning!

During this weekend, my mind kept wandering to one relationship that didn’t feel authentic. Sadly, it was the relationship with the person who I proclaimed to be my best friend. As the weekend progressed, this relationship began to pop up more and more in my mind.

Over the next month, I allowed myself to reflect on my friendship and the more I thought about it, the more I realized how dysfunctional it really was. I was in a friendship that was very one-sided and lacked authenticity on many levels. I realized that I was in a relationship where I gave and gave in an effort to seek approval yet there was no follow through from the other side. The follow through from the other side only came when she needed to vent, cry or share one of her many recent dramas. The “friendship rule book” also came with a list of people that I could not talk to because in some way, and in her mind, the had wronged her. Being someone who can get along with anybody, this was very difficult for me but I followed her unspoken rules out of loyalty to our friendship.

I have spent the past few years studying dysfunction as it pertains to relationships yet I naively categorized these issues in the traditional male-female relationships. My “ah ha” moment flickered during the conference but became brighter and brighter during November and December. I reflected on my relationships and used “borrowed judgement” as I processed my thoughts and reached out to friends for advice and support. I decided to communicate my feelings to my best friend. Initially, I was met with kindness but that shifted over the next 48 hours to the point that I had a decision to make.

I broke up with my best friend.

It hurt. A lot.

I cried. A lot.

I was angry. I was angry with myself for finding myself in another unhealthy relationship.

I was in a relationship with someone who was incapable of truly loving or accepting love. A relationship with someone who was very selfish. I didn’t beat myself up – I realized that I am human. I wanted to see the best in someone and I was let down. It wasn’t her fault….and it wasn’t my fault. Our friendship was part of my journey and my experience in this world.

With that said, it was not an easy decision to make. It was worse than a normal break-up. I have never removed myself from a friendship before. On an emotional level, it felt worse and more painful than leaving my marriage.

Ending a toxic relationship was the “grown-up thing to do” and sometimes it sucks being a grown-up. I made a healthy decision and for that, I am proud of myself. Leaving this relationship has opened doors to healthy friendships that I had kept on the back burner out of loyalty to the dysfunction. As the weeks have progressed, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

2013 was the year that I broke up with my best friend and 2014 is the year that I will focus on the healthy relationships in my life. 2013 was the year that I closed a huge chapter (custody battle) and it was also the year that I married the love of my life. I truly believe that each person enters our path to teach us a lesson – good or bad. Through this experience, I learned a lot about myself. I know that I am a good friend and I know that from this point forward, I will only invest myself in relationships that are healthy. Cheers to 2014!

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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.

Mr. OMB: From the Beginning

Mr. OMB: From the Beginning

my storyby Mr. OMB (Tina’s Husband)

There has been a lot of interest in how Tina and I developed and continue to maintain a healthy relationship while the battles rage around us, ours and yours. The basic question is, what advice would I give to someone in my shoes…?

My reaction is always the same: We all wear different shoes. Our stories are different. The variables that make up our experiences and guide our decisions on any given issue are different. I am the only one who understands what I’ve done, what I’ve been through.

Sound familiar?

That’s how Tina felt when she started writing. That’s how most of you felt before you found this site. The problem for me is, I get it. I know how this works. If I start writing from the heart, with the hope that my insights help one person, I will find that I am not alone and that there is a common thread that binds us all together.

So, with that in mind, and because you asked nicely, here we go.

To start, I think we need to keep in mind that this is a blog. I’m going to start at the beginning and work forward in small increments, touching on relevant aspects of my own story that contribute to my understanding of people, divorce, relationships, and coping skills.

I had a pretty normal childhood. Two parents, a younger brother, a dog. My parents divorced when I was 11. I can still hear myself screaming at the news. I didn’t take it well. We moved with Mom 300 miles away and spent summers with Dad. I became an angry teenager. My Mom and I raged. I pushed buttons, she threw full glasses of ice water at my head. It got to the point where, at 14, she let me move back and live with my Dad. I left my brother behind. Looking back, not cool. But, I was an angry, lost, 14 year old. I’ll take a look at teenagers later from both sides of the fence, but for now, I’ll let that sleeping dog lie, shake my head, be thankful I survived, and move on.

It wasn’t too long before my Mom and brother returned to my hometown. My Dad remarried, I got a step Mom, and a step-sister. That’s when the fine art of playing games between divorced parents really began. I recently ran into a high school acquaintance who commented that my best friend and I had the least parental supervision of anyone he’d ever met. Sounds about right. In my defense, I graduated. I hit 9 schools and skipped the third grade getting there, it was close, but I graduated.

So, what’s the point of this first installment? I’m guessing we all have life history and divorce baggage. Whether it’s from our parents, family, or close friends, we’ve all had the opportunity to pack our bags with preconceptions of what a divorce is and does. I know I did when it came time for my own divorce. For the most part, mine was predictable. An agonizingly predictable trip through Crazyland. My situation still throws a rogue wave every now and then, but the flood waters of the River Styx have subsided.

Then came Tina’s divorce…. and that, my friends, is a whole ‘nother story.

 

(To read more blogs from Mr. OMB, click here and stay tuned for more)

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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.

A Tragedy in the Family Court System: Judge Phillip Robinson (Tennessee)

A Tragedy in the Family Court System: Judge Phillip Robinson (Tennessee)

jailby Tina Swithin

Prior to embarking on my own custody battle, I was very naive and trusting. I walked into our Family Court System believing that the system was designed to protect my children and your children. I am your normal, everyday mom. I sit here typing in my sweatpants with my hair thrown into a bun. My weeks are spent running my children to playdates, gymnastics and birthday parties.  I am not online spending countless hours researching conspiracy theories or picketing court houses although the latter seems more and more appealing as I delve further into this nightmare that I now know as the Family Court System.

Every single person in America should be aware of what is happening in our Family Court System. A complete overhaul is in order. While I am thankful that I had a decent, honest Judge assigned to my case, it still took me 4 long years to protect my daughters when the writing was on the wall within the first three months.

Today I was made aware of a case in Tennessee that has left me baffled and wanting to grab a picket sign and start marching on the steps of a certain Tennessee courthouse.

This week,  the loving mother of two small children was thrown in jail for following the recommendation of a Social Worker and two Judges in Wisconsin. This mother was advised not to bring her children for visitation with their father who resides in Tennessee. She was strongly advised to protect her children because a third party reported to Children Protective Services (Wisconsin) their suspicions that the children might have been abused by their father. After a forensic investigation was conducted, the Social Worker in Wisconsin suspended the fathers visitation rights effective immediately. During the forensic investigation, one of the boys stated that his father had touched him inappropriately and left him unattended on multiple occasions. As instructed, she followed the orders from the Social Worker.

In addition to the orders from the Social worker, there was a temporary restraining order in place against the father which was signed by two Judges in Wisconsin and therefore, the mother was legally prevented from bringing the children to Tennessee. If the mother would have followed through with the visitation and disregarded the legal advisement from Wisconsin, she would have been held accountable by the Wisconsin Courts.

As any concerned mother and law-abiding citizen would do, she followed the law. Because she followed orders in Wisconsin, this mother was thrown in jail by circuit court Judge Phillip Robinson of Tennessee. As of this morning, she was released from jail however, this mother is facing serious jail time and could potentially lose custody of her children at the hands of Judge Robinson. His ruling was handed down to “make a point” that she should not have disobeyed his order. Davidson County (Tennessee), the State of Tennessee and everyone in the United States of America should be aware of what this Judge has done to a loving mother who was damned if she did and damned if she didn’t.

This is one of those situations that leaves you wondering if there is more to the story however, after further investigation, I can tell you that this mother is being unfairly targeted.  According to witnesses who were in the courtroom, the out-of-state Social Worker and lawyer both testified in a court of law that they advised this mother not to put the children in the fathers care. Having jail time on her record will now prevent her from carrying her LMT license and therefore prevent her from financially providing for her children with her trained skill set.

Please consider signing this petition and sharing this blog to bring awareness to what is happening in Judge Robinson’s courtroom. A Judge’s ego should NOT come before his oath to act in the best interest of the very children that he was appointed to protect.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN PETITION

CLICK HERE TO ASSIST WITH LEGAL FEES:

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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.

When the Family Court System Fails to Act in the Best Interest of a Child

When the Family Court System Fails to Act in the Best Interest of a Child

kellyBy Tina Swithin

When a person first reads about Kelly Rutherford’s international custody battle, the reaction may be similar to mine and countless others. Initially, I was left thinking that there must be more to the story.  This case is of particular interest to me due to my role as an advocate for children and parents who are involved in the Family Court System. With the current divorce statistics in the United States remaining at approximately 50%, this is a case that should be followed by every person in America regardless of marital status due to the appalling decision handed down by a Family Court Judge in California.

Labeled by ABC’s legal analysis, Dan Abrams and many others as the worst custody decision ever made, Los Angeles County Judge Theresa Beaudet ordered two young children, Hermes and Helena (ages 7 and 4) to be uprooted from their home in America and sent to France with their father.  The decision was handed down when their father, Daniel Giersch, of Germany, was deported and banned from the United States by the State Department amidst suspicions that Mr. Giersch was a suspected drugs and weapons dealer. One part of this equation that defies logic is that the children are both American born and raised citizens. The latter part that leaves me and many others baffled is that neither Rutherford nor Giersch are French citizens yet the children are ordered to reside and be schooled in France.

The Family Court System is tasked with the responsibility of acting in the best interest of the child but being sent to live in a foreign country and away from their mother is clearly not in the best interest of the children. If the State Department finds Mr. Giersch unfit to even enter the United States, how is it possible that Judge Beaudet could find him fit to be the primary caregiver of two small children? Is it in the best interest of Hermes and Helena to reside almost 4,000 miles away from their mother? Obviously, it isn’t.

Sadly, this story reads like the script of one of Rutherford’s television movies but this is not a movie and Rutherford’s children are the ones suffering. Initially Rutherford opposed the Judge’s decision and requested a stay of proceedings while she appealed however, her request was denied and scheduled to be reassessed in two years.  While everyone agrees that the situation is both heartbreaking and terrifying for Ms. Rutherford, multiple legal teams have been unsuccessful in their attempts to appeal this ludicrous decision which shines a huge spotlight on the failures in the Family Court System.

This case also showcases the inequality that parties often face in Family Court when there is a disparity in household income levels. Ms. Rutherford, known for her roles on shows such as Melrose Place and Gossip Girl, along with numerous movies, has been left bankrupted due to her legal fees and her ongoing struggle to bring her children back to the United States. After spending an estimated $2 million dollars, which includes her life savings and retirement holdings, Ms. Rutherford is left in a position to act as her own attorney against a man with a full legal team who is extremely wealthy yet refuses to answer questions in court about his occupation or financial situation.

I recently reached out to Ms. Rutherford to discuss the status of her case.

“What the judge in California has done is unconstitutional. There is something very suspicious taking place and the decision to remove Hermes and Helena from their home in the United States is clearly not in their best interest. Originally, I had primary custody and offered to take the children to see their father every holiday and all summer. Judge Beaudet has sent my children to a foreign country with no return date and has given their father two years to figure out his situation and hopefully, return to the United States. There is nothing preventing Daniel from entering the United States as a visitor and he was welcome to re apply for his O-1 Visa. I am heartbroken and at a loss as to why a non-US citizen is being so heavily rewarded by Judge Beaudet.”

As a mother myself and someone who has been embroiled in my own tumultuous 4-year custody battle, this case has me on edge because it is yet another reminder that someone behind a bench can make a decision that is clearly not in the best interest of a child. There seems to be zero accountability in the Family Court System and sadly, these decisions are being made at the expense of the children. I recently spoke to Chelsea Storey, Family Law Attorney in Orange County, California, for her opinion on the Rutherford- Giersch case.

The fact that these children who have birthright citizenship and therefore a legal right to live in America have been ordered to live in a foreign country is extremely troublesome and sheds light on a myriad of other problems in the family court system.

In an overreaching decision that ensured a father, who had been deported for suspicion of illegal activity, had equal time with his children, the children have been ripped away from their mother, their primary attachment figure.

Using the erroneous premise that Ms. Rutherford can travel at will to see her children in a foreign country and that Mr. Giersch, due to his deportation cannot, the judge completely disregarded other “best interest” factors.

Equal parenting time does not automatically guarantee children’s “best interest.”

With the overcorrection and abolishment of the “tender years doctrine,” which maintained that young children should remain with their primary attachment figure to reduce separation anxiety and developmental problems, children’s actual psychological needs are being ignored by decision makers. 

The ‘best interest’ standard should always consider and incorporate psychological and emotional needs of the children.  In this case it appears these important principles were ignored to advance an agenda.”

In an effort to empathize with the struggles of others, I often try to imagine myself walking in their shoes. As I put my children to bed tonight, I could not bring myself to try on Kelly Rutherford’s shoes.  My heart aches at the thought of these two small children sleeping in a country that is completely foreign to them, not to mention 4,000 miles away from their mother. The Family Court System has the responsibility to act in the best interest of the child. As someone who grew up without a mother, I know the toll that Judge Teresa Beaudet’s decision will have on these children and I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that the ruling  is not in their best interest.

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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 Warrior Mom in Need

Divorcing a Narcissist: A Warrior Mom in Need

Pay it forwardby Tina Swithin

2014 is here and it’s a clean slate. A new chapter. A fresh start and a year to pay it forward — even if that means a smile or a hug to someone in need.

The administrators at One Mom’s Battle (OMB) field a lot of messages. Some are funny (narc decoder material) and some are heart wrenching. Between overseeing the OMB Chapter Facebook pages, the main OMB FB page, The Lemonade Club and my personal email account, I probably read or scan about 75 stories on any given day.

We have a wide range of people who follow our board. Many have ex-husbands or ex-wives who are diagnosed with NPD and many fly under the radar. To be honest, there are many messages that come through that I don’t believe are actually NPD related– they fall into the category of high-conflict divorce. Divorce isn’t pretty- even the most level headed people can do some pretty crazy things during divorce.

There are days when I think  I’ve seen and heard it all.

A few days ago, we received a message that reminded me that I haven’t heard it all. We received a message from a woman who makes my battle seem like a piece of cake. On Tuesday morning at 1:23am, I received a message from one of our administrators, Jamie, who asked that we (fellow administrators) check the OMB Facebook page because a message had come through from a very distraught and desperate mom. I read the message and my heart broke.

I’ve always said that I am thankful to have been given a dumb narcissist. Seth was very smart when it came to books but he is inept in social situations and his actions during our divorce were not smart. He was manipulative and scary but I feel that his alcoholism kept him from operating at his full, sociopathic potential.

The message that we received had to do with a man who is operating at his full potential. He had plotted, planned and set his wife up long before their marriage ended and sadly, he has been successful. Because I hear so many stories, it takes a lot to shock me but this story has rocked me to my core. Unfortunately, I can not provide details of the story because his wife is being stalked and I can not risk her identity or her safety.   Rebecca (OMB Administrator) has created a Go Fund Me account to assist this mother with her legal fees. If 100 people were able to donate $25.00, we would be able to assist her with her legal fees. Click here for more information.

I am someone who believes in “signs” – call them God nudges, pushes from the Universe, or whatever works for you. There is something significant to me about the numbers, “123.” In 2009, when I left the Women’s Shelter, I went to the post office to open a PO Box for my mail. The lady behind the counter handed me a key and said, “Your box number is 123″ — ever since then, that number pops up whenever I need reassurance or whenever I am searching for answers. The message in itself was powerful enough to make us (OMB) act but the fact that Jamie notified me at 1:23am was the push that I needed.

Many of you ask me what you can do to help with this cause and while I always say, “Keep talking, keep educating and keep this subject in the spotlight,” there is always more that you can do. Reach out to others in this battle and offer a hug or kind words if that is all you can do. Buy a gift card for groceries for a single mom or dad. Go to coffee and simply listen. We are all in this battle together and we can’t forget that. Change happens when we unite. There are angels who have helped me and I find that paying it forward is the most rewarding and healing thing that I could do. If you are in a position to donate $25 to this cause, I would personally be grateful.  If you are in the position to donate even $5, I would be grateful. Let’s surround this warrior mommy and help her to protect herself– and her children.

Thank you!  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 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: Reflections of 2013

Divorcing a Narcissist: Reflections of 2013

newyearby Tina Swithin

For me, 2013 was another rollercoaster ride and what a ride it was! I remember writing a blog a few years ago in which I described divorcing a narcissist as a rollercoaster ride with a madman at the control tower. I yearned to hear were the words, “Please lift the bar and exit the ride to your left.”  I woke from my dreams desperate to hear those words and I walked into the courtroom over 30 different times hoping to hear those words. I wanted to leave the exasperating ride so badly and have peace.

In the beginning of 2013, our Child Custody Evaluation finally began after months of anticipation and waiting patiently. The start of the year also marked a visit to the police station to document physical abuse against my oldest daughter, Piper and yet another report with Child Welfare Services of San Luis Obispo County.  Once again, that agency failed to protect my children (third time).

March was supposed to be the review hearing for the completed custody evaluation however, the report was not ready and the court date was delayed until April 11th. The Commissioner changed our review hearing to a two-day trial which terrified me given that I was representing myself against Seth and his slimy attorney from Ventura, California.  To make matters worse, the trial was scheduled just days after my wedding. No stress there. While I was determined not to let Seth affect my wedding, the thought of returning from my mini-honeymoon and then mentally preparing for trial the very next day was horrible.

The month of March brought an angel into my world and began a huge shift of positive energy in my  life.  A woman who read my book contacted me and to make a long story short, she located and hired an attorney to represent me. Thankful to God. Thankful to my Angel. Thankful to my lucky stars.

I’m also incredibly thankful to the Karma that Seth always said would get me. For once, he was telling the truth.

My April court date was also delayed until July 10th because the custody evaluation wasn’t complete and the summer court calendar was completely blacked out. I was frustrated as this meant more waiting. Less than two weeks before the trial, Seth, in his ego-driven attitude of being above rules and court orders violated the court order that prohibited him from drinking alcohol around my daughters. Not only did he drink alcohol, he took them into a pub and it was all captured on camera. Thanks to another angel who works as a private detective and my new attorney, we were able to subpoena the video the day before the trial.  Between that huge piece of evidence and a very thorough custody evaluation,  I heard the words that I had been desperately waiting for.

While the Commissioner on our case stated that I was receiving full custody and then ordered professionally supervised visits for Seth in a final custody order, he might as well have said, “please lift the bar and exit the ride to your left.” I wish that I could say that I left the courtroom and feeling victorious in the fact that my children were finally safe, but in reality, I remained in a daze for months. It all felt so surreal and because I am accustomed to operating in a constant state of defense, I was having a hard time processing the fact that we were finally safe.

Looking back, I learned a huge lesson. I was so angry and desperate with all of the delays in my case and the custody evaluation. I am NOT a patient person by nature and this custody battle has made me realize that my timing may not always be in alignment with God’s plan and timing. I wanted so badly to protect my daughters and each delay felt like a year and not just a month. I knew that while Seth’s visits were short, there was so much damage that could be done in 6 hours. Seth’s final act of drinking could not have come at a better time. It all happened the way it was supposed to even though I didn’t understand it at the time. I’ve learned to lean on my faith during the times that I can’t understand the situation in front of me.

January 10th, 2014 will mark six months since we’ve seen Seth. The first few months, Piper (age 8) dealt with feelings of guilt. Seth’s promises to her had all come true. He had threatened that if she told anyone what was happening at his house, she would never see him again. Because his ego can not handle the thought of someone supervising his visits, we have not seen him since July. With the help of a fabulous counselor, we are working through the debris left behind by Hurricane Seth and I am proud to report that the girls are happy and thriving—and we are enjoying the peace in the aftermath of the storm that raged for over four years. Our sky has a huge double rainbow and for that, I am thankful.

2013 goes down as the year that the court finally acted to protect my children. It is the year that I married my best friend, Glenn. It is the year that I took a personal inventory and made changes in a variety of categories- friendships, career, etc. It is the year that The Lemonade Club came into fruition and my life was further enriched by a group of 30 amazing women. It was also the year that I started my second book. I welcome 2014 with open arms and a heart filled with gratitude, love and peace.

PS: I woke to an email from a woman who said that her attorney had insisted that she read my book. He loaned it to her from HIS personal library. What a message to wake up to this morning! I hope that that email is the opening to many more. I can feel the changes and the strides that we are making in the Family Court System. Cheers to 2014 being the year for changes and education!

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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.

Mr. OMB – A Message of Hope

Mr. OMB – A Message of Hope

hope

by Mr. OMB (Tina’s Husband)

Hope.

As a warrior of OMB, I have faced each challenge with Faith and Love as a breastplate, and Hope as a
helmet. Today, I would like to offer you my helmet.

Hope is something I can offer without hesitation. I don’t worry that I have enough knowledge, experience, or understanding of your individual circumstances to write about it, to offer it, to give it.

My experience with hope tells me that hope is a magnifier and a reducer. It strengthens your work. It takes your efforts, your steps, your expended energy, and gives them a boost. It helps bring you closer to your goal. Hope, in the face of despair or defeat, gives you something to hold onto. It reduces the devastation of the setbacks.

It protects your head. It gets you through.

There may be a time when it is all you have left. Loosing hope? Look around you. It’ll turn up. Still can’t
find it? Hang on! You never know who, or what, will bring it to you.

No doubt, this is a tough time of the year emotionally, financially, spiritually. It can also bring the most
hope. Remember the reason for the season…? Hope is in there somewhere, trust me. While it sounds
like religion, I think hope is universally foundational regardless of belief. Faith, Love, Pixie Dust, and Hope.

For me, hope is intertwined with my beliefs. So, my prayer of hope is for you and your children.

Please understand that my prayer includes peace and enlightenment for all involved in the turmoil that
fills these pages.

Hope for everyone? Why not. We all have the ability to give hope to someone else. I am told that my
story, and Elationship with Tina (Typing along, I looked up to see “Elationship” instead of “relationship”.
Typo or God nudge? I have no idea how it got a capital E) please excuse me while I freak out…

Ok, I’m back. Where was I? Oh yeah, I have been told that our Elationship gives others hope. I am sure
that we are not unique in this ability. Tina’s story gives hope because she has been there, done that, and
survived. You have survived something that someone else is facing. You have survived years of abuse, a
sudden attack, abandonment, mental manipulation, an abusive assault, an hour, a day, a week, a year, or more
away from your children. You have endured pain and loss. You have gotten free, fought to protect those
you love. You have had moments of clarity. You have found yourself, peace, balance, and love. In doing
so, you give others hope regardless of where either of you are in your journeys.

Every battle, challenge, month, day, year, second you survive, you show others that it can be done. You
give them the helmet of hope.

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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.