Category Archives: General Information on Narcissism

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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: Reclaiming your Power with the Narc Decoder

Divorcing a Narcissist: Reclaiming your Power with the Narc Decoder

Narc decoderby Tina Swithin

I find myself being a bit overprotective when it comes to the men and women on One Mom’s Battle. It angers me to see the control that the dirty, demented narcissists have (or think they have) over their ex-husbands or ex-wives. It reminds me of the Trix commercial, “Silly rabbit! Trix are for kids!” — Silly narcissist, we’re SO much smarter than you.

Someone sent us a message and asked that we process it through the Narc Decoder. I laughed when I saw the message because it could have been written by Seth himself. Here is the email:

I wish I had a mirror to have you see how you come across in your presentation. Maybe there would be a slim possibility you could see how angry, inflexible, demanding a person that you are. Why would anybody want to work anything out with you! You do not know the first thing about being accomodating, understanding, or professional for any matters. So you run to your attorney to find solutions. Besides, the selfishness that is your true self. All you know to do is fight, fight, fight. How very sad because one day it will have an effect on your existence if you keep it up. Find a better way to channel your anger that life is not fair for you or you may face the consequences.

Soon there will be no need to consider “the Family Wizard” for communication because I will rarely have any contact with you except to discuss logistics. So it is totally off the table. Period.

I, too, have plans for myself and our daughter, so you are not privileged in setting what weekend day we do the exchange. In fact, as I said before, I gave you 18 months of many episodes of flexibility and that will not be easy to get anymore. You cannot make Sundays a unilateral condition for hours that were decided by my employer, speaking of being unilateral. Life does not care what you think!

I will not waste anymore of my valuable time today with your expressions of whining and discontent.”

 

I went out in the garage and searched for the Narc Decoder. It’s been a while since I’ve had to use it because we haven’t heard much from Seth since court in July. Sure enough, it was a bit dusty but as I entered the above email, I heard the normal “snap, crackle, pop” of the Narc Decoder hard at work. Within moments, out popped a completely deciphered email:

“I wish I had a mirror right now so that I could see myself. I could spend hours staring into my own eyes. Have I told you lately how angry I am at the loss of power since our marriage ended? Yes, I’m angry, inflexible and demanding and all of those feelings have escalated tremendously since I can no longer control you. Damn you. I refuse to compromise or work anything out with you- it’s my way or the highway. Didn’t you read the fine print on the pre-nup? I do not know the first thing about being accommodating, understanding or professional but instead of taking ownership for my own shortcomings; I am going to project my faults on to you. Heck, it’s always worked in the past.

I hate that you have an attorney to turn to for advice- why can’t you just let me continue to control and manipulate you?! It’s quite infuriating. I love to fight, fight, fight. This constant drama feeds me because I know that it affects you. I LOVE to affect you. Speaking of love, did you know that I am actually incapable of that? Thank God I am so manipulative because I am able to fool women just like I fooled you. Have you seen my mirror lately? Aren’t you supposed to keep track of my things?

Our Family Wizard? Are you joking? Do you really think that I want my words and actions to be monitored? Ha! I want access to you by all means possible- text, phone, email, in person and while shouting from the rooftops. You want ME to agree to something that YOU think is a good idea? Ha! Did I mention that I am a control freak and a program like that would not work well for me? The only way that I will agree to use that program is if it somehow becomes my idea. I will be sure to request that YOU be required to use it while we are in front of the Judge because it will play into my claim that you are harassing me and that the program will put an end to your persistent abuse. By the way, have you ever heard of a program called, “Our Family Wizard?” I happen to find it online yesterday and I think we should begin to use it. I am tired of the constant harassment from you.

You want me to be flexible on times for visitation. I’m sorry but that is a one-way street. You must adhere to the court order word for word however, I will let you know when I need you to bend.  Oh, by the way, next weekend doesn’t work well for me as I have a lunch date. I’ll need you to take our daughter for a few extra hours.

Have I mentioned how valuable my time is? I should get paid to just be awake and breathing. Now that I’ve thoroughly fed my sick, deranged ego, I am going to sit here and gloat knowing that you are on the receiving end of my latest attack. I’m going to envision you breaking down crying because that is like a high to me.”

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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 Application to Marry a Narcissist

The Application to Marry a Narcissist

Dr NarcOn Wednesday, the Huffington Post ran an article titled, Deluded Surgeon’s Email Lists the Most Outrageous Requirements for a Woman We’ve Ever Seen.”

After reading the article in complete shock, I immediately thought the title should be changed to the following headline, “One Lucky Woman will Receive a Shiny New Narcissist with all the Bells and Whistles.” Many of the requirements reminded me of my own less-than-shiny narcissist, Seth.

Because I am not known to keep my mouth shut (thank you, freedom!) when it comes to this type of thing, I decided to lend my expertise to the situation and elaborate a little more on each of the requirements. I want to make sure that the lucky lady knows exactly when she’s getting into with the good doctor.

Below are the requirements and my explanation of each when processed through the trusty Narc Decoder:

  1. “Spent significant time (>1 yr) living in a city of 1 million or more.”

I need someone who appears “worldly” which makes for better conversations in social settings when I need to impress people. I also have a strong desire to impress my mom who doesn’t want me to end up with a country bumpkin.

  1. “Highly functional Type B (not a Type A because too similar, not a Type B who can’t get stuff done)”

I can’t handle an over-achiever who would complete and remove the spotlight from me. Did I mention that I am a highly-functional type A personality? Are you good at listening and taking notes?

  1. “Skinny (i.e. dress size 0-2, if you don’t know what that means (many men don’t) it means very skinny)”

A trophy wife feeds my ego and makes me the talk of the town amongst colleagues. Please be warned that I will be monitoring your food intake and ensuring that you never drink anything but non-fat milk in your coffee. Wait. Dairy causes weight gain. Scratch that.  You will live off of black coffee and salads without dressing.  You like lettuce, right?

  1. “Never does bad things because of values.”

I need someone who can provide balance because I lack values yet I like to brag about having them. I also like to shine the spotlight on others who do bad things but I am highly skilled at covering my tracks. Someone with good values and morals will make me look better and therefore, people will never doubt me.

  1. “Spent significant time in another country other than the US (either born somewhere else or lived out of the US for a total of a 6 months or more, not on a vacation, doing something like school or work)”

This helps tremendously when dinner conversations become stale and I’ve thoroughly bored everyone while talking about how accomplished I am. I need conversation topics that will impress our dinner guests. This by no means implies that I am seeking someone of another ethnic background – I would only date a Caucasian woman but don’t rush me, I will delve into the topic of racism on question #9.

  1. “Graduate degree or very good undergraduate school (more compatible since I went to 3 Ivy League schools i.e. Dartmouth, Columbia & Harvard, as well as Emory and my MBA from NYU)” –

Did I mention how important I am? Did you know that I went to 3 IVY League Schools? My overbearing mother and family would never approve of someone who didn’t fit their image of perfect genes and high intellect. Can you imagine the fine specimens…I mean CHILDREN….that our combined DNA….I mean, love….will produce? While you are taking notes, I’m going to order Mensa applications so we are fully prepared.

  1. “Wants kids in the next 1-2 years.”

With my superior genes, I am in a hurry to reproduce. I am also seeking to have 2.5 children because that is what society deems as ideal for American couples. If we are not able to reproduce within my time frame, it will of course be your fault. Something must be wrong with your eggs as someone of my caliber could never have issues with sperm count. I’ve personally had them studied in a lab and talk about perfection!  Whew! Perfect sperm right here!

  1. “An 8 out of the 1-10 scale — 9-10 is actually bad as it comes with a lot of downside.”

Someone who exudes perfection would take longer to tear down. I have some wiggle room with an “8” – I could point out the third left toe with a slight bend or the way her nose holes aren’t completely symmetrical. Did you know that perfect people have completely symmetrical nose holes? A perfect 9 or 10 would never think to eat dairy but an 8…think of the fun I could have when she reaches for that piece of cheese at a dinner party!

  1. “Caucasian (not black, not Hispanic, not Asian)”

See question #5 above. I’m a racist.

  1. “Altruistic, selfless”

Being completely selfless and consumed with my needs, likes and desires is detrimental to your well-being. Are you talking notes?

  1. “Gets along well with everyone”

I need someone who can smooth things over when I create waves. I need someone so likeable that I will be liked by association. I am a complete a-hole in case you haven’t noticed yet. I need someone who is easy-going and gets along with everyone but most importantly, me. Me. Me. Me.

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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.

 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Gaslighting

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Gaslighting

sorryI have been described as a free-spirit on many occasions in my life.  I’ve always been the happy-go-lucky one who can see the positives in every situation.  When I first met Seth, a modern day Prince Charming, I was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to grab hold of life with all of my might. Seth was drawn to my carefree attitude and innocent curiosity of the world around me. My spirit captivated him, but not in a healthy way.  Seth wanted to suck my spirit dry and rob me of my emotions because he wasn’t capable of having feelings of his own. Seth was (and is) an emotional vampire.

By year nine of my relationship with Seth; you would never have believed that I once lived a cheery life. Year after year, I lost more and more of who I once was.  It was a slow process but over time, I became robotic and empty.  I found that my memory, once as sharp as a needle, became undependable and I was at times left questioning my own sanity.  In 2008, a therapist said three words that would change my life forever: Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

While I initially dismissed those three powerful words, they kept creeping back into my thoughts and eventually I began to study this disorder.  Light bulbs began going off in every direction and the past ten years of my life suddenly made complete sense. I had been living one of the most intense and stealth forms of emotional abuse at the hands of a person who lacked a conscience and empathy. Education soon became the most powerful tool to ever land at my feet.  In order to heal, I needed to understand what had happened to me so that I could make sense of it.  It was at that point in my research that I discovered “gaslighting” or ambient abuse.

According to Dr. Robin Stern, Ph.D., gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse and there is a “dance” that she refers to as the Gaslight Tango. This dance summarizes much of my relationship with Seth.  In an excerpt from an article in Psychology Today, Dr. Stern describes the Gaslight Tango:

“The powerful gaslighter (he has power both because he asserts it and because the gaslightee gives it to him!) engages in an ongoing, systematic knocking down of the other, less powerful person, purposely controlling the relationship by telling the other that there is something wrong with the way she sees the world or there’s something wrong with who she is — and– the gaslightee, by agreeing with him or allowing his perceptions define hers, over time, loses confidence, feels unsure and experiences a growing shakiness of self. Gradually, the gaslightee begins to question what she thought she knew—and gives up the power to stand in her own reality.”

Gaslighting played a huge part in my marriage and was constant.  One particularly troublesome year towards the end of our marriage, the roof on our brand new home began to leak after a heavy downpour.  It wasn’t a small leak. In fact, water was running down our wall in large quantities. I called Seth to let him know what was happening and he snapped at me. “Dammit, Tina! I told you to remind me to have the gutters cleaned out and you forgot.  Do you know how much this is going to cost?!”  He slammed the phone down on me in a fit of rage. Had this happened 8 years before, I would have known without a doubt that we never had a conversation about gutters and I would have stood up to his ludicrous allegation. By this point in time, I was conditioned to accept the blame and I was to the point where I questioned both reality and my memory.  Seth could have told me that the sky was red and I would have believed him. Instead of defending myself, I apologized profusely for the leaky roof and make a note on my calendar to have the gutters checked next fall. Ironically, we discovered that the roof leak had nothing to do with the gutters. Yet somehow, I still felt like that leak was my fault.

I recently reached out to Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-love – Narcissism Revisited, for his thoughts on gaslighting, or ambient abuse.   According to Sam Vaknin, there are five categories of ambient abuse and many times, they are a combination of these components in play by the abuser:

  • Inducing Disorientation: The abuser causes the victim to lose faith in her ability to manage and to cope with the world and its demands. She no longer trusts her senses, her skills, her strengths, her friends, her family, and the predictability and benevolence of her environment. The abuser subverts the target’s focus by disagreeing with her way of perceiving the world, her judgment, the facts of her existence, by criticizing her incessantly – and by offering plausible but specious alternatives. By constantly lying, he blurs the line between reality and nightmare. By recurrently disapproving of her choices and actions – the abuser shreds the victim’s self-confidence and shatters her self-esteem. By reacting disproportionately to the slightest “mistake” – he intimidates her to the point of paralysis.
  • Incapacitating: The abuser gradually and surreptitiously takes over functions and chores previously adequately and skillfully performed by the victim. The prey finds herself isolated from the outer world, a hostage to the goodwill – or, more often, ill-will – of her captor. She is crippled by his encroachment and by the inexorable dissolution of her boundaries and ends up totally dependent on her tormentor’s whims and desires, plans and stratagems.
  • Shared Psychosis: The abuser creates a fantasy world, inhabited by the victim and himself, and besieged by imaginary enemies. He allocates to the abused the role of defending this invented and unreal Universe. She must swear to secrecy, stand by her abuser no matter what, lie, fight, pretend, obfuscate and do whatever else it takes to preserve this oasis of inanity. Her membership in the abuser’s “kingdom” is cast as a privilege and a prize. It is not to be taken for granted. She has to work hard to earn her continued affiliation. She is constantly being tested and evaluated. Inevitably, this interminable stress reduces the victim’s resistance and her ability to “see straight”.
  • Abuse of Information: From the first moments of an encounter with another person, the abuser is on the prowl. He collects information. The more he knows about his potential victim – the better able he is to coerce, manipulate, charm, extort or convert it “to the cause”. The abuser does not hesitate to misuse the information he gleans, regardless of its intimate nature or the circumstances in which he obtained it. This is a powerful tool in his armory.
  • Control by Proxy: If all else fails, the abuser recruits friends, colleagues, mates, family members, the authorities, institutions, neighbors, the media, teachers – in short, third parties – to do his bidding. He uses them to cajole, coerce, threaten, stalk, offer, retreat, tempt, convince, harass, communicate and otherwise manipulate his target. He controls these unaware instruments exactly as he plans to control his ultimate prey. He employs the same mechanisms and devices. And he dumps his props unceremoniously when the job is done.

If you feel that you are the victim of gaslighting or any other type of abuse at the hands of a narcissist, you have the power to make changes and to leave the toxic relationship. Before ending a relationship with someone who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder or any type of Cluster B Disorder, I advise you to seek a therapist who is knowledgeable on this topic.  I have discovered that the only thing worse than being married to these individuals is to divorce someone with a personality disorder. I encourage you to read everything that you can get your hands on and join in-person support groups or online support groups such as My Emotional Vampire, Respite from Sociopathic Behavior, After Narcissistic Abuse or One Mom’s Battle.  Through a strong support system, you will be able to take your power back and be a survivor instead of a victim.

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Click the link to purchase Tina’s new book, “Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle.”  You will find insight, red flag reflections and strategies on how to survive (and thrive!) while divorcing of co-parenting with a narcissist. Tired of panicking at the site of a new email from the narcissist in your inbox? Learn how to decode the emails and see them for what they are. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.

 

Dating a Narcissist: The Ups and Downs

Dating a Narcissist: The Ups and Downs

ConfusionExcerpt taken from my book, “Divorcing a Narcissist” – and focuses on our dating life prior to marriage:

Seth: Greek form of Egyptian Set, possibly meaning “one who dazzles.” In mythology, this is the name of the ancient evil god of chaos, storms, and the desert.

Some days I felt like royalty, and other days I felt so beneath him. Talks which focused on my lack of a college education seemed to become more frequent as time went on. Seth introduced me to his work colleagues as his fiancé, which made me feel special and gave me a sense of stability in our relationship however, we weren’t engaged.

At one particular event, I overheard Seth telling his boss that I was going to be attending a local State college in the fall which left me confused and upset. I pressed him on the way home, and he admitted that in professional settings, it was embarrassing when conversations about college came up. I was crushed. No one had ever told me that I embarrassed them. Almost instantaneously, I could feel the self esteem that I worked so hard to regain slipping from my fingers.

The next day I woke up and put on a smile. The last thing that I wanted was to be accused of being a Debbie Downer and an embarrassment. I walked into the kitchen to make coffee and found flowers waiting for me on the kitchen table. The card expressed how sorry he was for hurting me. Seth claimed that I was the furthest thing in the world from an embarrassment. I accepted his apology.

  • Red Flag Reflection: The ups and downs were leaving my head spinning. Almost as quickly as Seth could crush me, he could build me back up with amazing, heartfelt letters and cards. Not only could I not make sense of the new world I was living in, I found it difficult to articulate what was happening to my friends or family.

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Click the link to purchase Tina’s new book, “Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle.”  You will find insight, red flag reflections, tips and strategies on how to survive (and thrive!) while divorcing of co-parenting with a narcissist. Tired of panicking at the site of a new email from the narcissist in your inbox? Learn how to decode the emails and see them for what they are. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.  You can also purchase “Tips by Tina” and receive them by email within 24 hours.

Parenting with a Narcissist After Divorce: Set Your Boundaries, Empower Your Children

Parenting with a Narcissist After Divorce: Set Your Boundaries, Empower Your Children

NarcNote from Tina: I recently came across an article titled, “How Narcissists Abuse Children During Divorce” and felt myself jumping up and down in my seat saying, “Yes!  Yes!  Yes! THIS is what is happening in my life!” — I felt like the Author had interviewed us and written about my custody battle.  I hadn’t read anything that came so close to describing Seth and what he was doing to us.  I quickly contacted the Author, Paula Lovgren and asked her to guest blog for One Mom’s Battle.  I was honored when she said, “Yes!”.

Parenting with a Narcissist After Divorce: Set Your Boundaries, Empower Your Children

by Paula Lovgren

To parent your children with a narcissistic (N) parent, very little, if any of the traditional divorce/parenting advice is going to apply. Co-parenting? Not likely. Your number one job as the non-narcissist parent is to reduce conflict. You have to, because he won’t.* The N parent thrives on drama he creates because it provides him with narcissistic supply. He will take any form of supply he can get, even if it’s negative. Don’t engage with him. Reducing conflict with him is the best way to protect your children from the N’s behavior.

How can you do this? The following steps are pretty easy in theory, but as anyone dealing with an N knows, nothing is easy. The N’s behavior may escalate as he realizes you are disengaging with him. That can be scary for you. Stand your ground. In time, hopefully, when the N realizes that he’s not getting any supply, he’ll move on to other sources leaving you and your children in relative peace.

1. No face-to-face or phone conversations

The best way for the N to lie, manipulate and abuse is in conversations either on the phone or in person. It’s not necessary to put yourself in this position. Your job as a parent is to communicate important information about your children to the other parent. Communicating means to convey information, make known, reveal clearly. Nowhere in the definition of communicate does it mention talking.

Fortunately, we now have at our disposal a myriad of ways to communicate. Unfortunately, this has also led us (and in turn, our narcissistic abusers) to believe that we must be available at all times, to all people. Even if you are parenting with a former spouse it’s not necessary for them to every phone number, email address or social media contact. In fact, if you’re dealing with an N, they should not. One phone number to contact the kids, one email address to contact you and an emergency contact should they need to get a hold of you on short notice is all they need.

I suggest setting up a free web-based email account that can be accessed from any computer to be used only for communicating with the N parent. This is the only email address for you he should have access to. Sure, he may continue to rant, name call, threaten and otherwise try to bait you. Now you have it all in writing in one place. If he wants to put his bad behavior in black and white, well, good for you. Now you have a record and concrete evidence of his nasty behavior. You also have all agreements, schedule changes, and any other pertinent information in writing. That’s communication.

If you can have a separate phone for the kids, do it, even if it’s a cell phone that stays in the home and travels with you and the children on trips. The N does not need a personal phone number for you regardless of what he may think. He’s abused the privilege.. There are many free texting apps, if you have a smartphone, where he can still text you in emergencies without having your personal number. If he abuses this privilege, block him. You can also have a family member or close friend be the emergency contact who will then contact you in rare circumstances.

2. Have an iron-clad divorce decree

Get visitation schedules, holidays, phone calls, activities, pick-up/drop-off times and places and anything else that you see as potentially being a problem between you and the other parent explicitly written out in the divorce decree or marital termination agreement. Try to leave as little as possible open to negotiation after the divorce is final.

The divorce decree is your shield. At first, it may seem constraining because you, too, will have to abide by those agreements. However, in the long run, it will be easier and less stressful than trying to negotiate with an unreliable and unreasonable person. In addition, when you follow the decree as it’s written, anything he does in opposition to that is highlighted. Don’t argue with him. Let him hang himself with his own behavior. Just more good documentation for you.

3. Get healthy.

You have come out of an abusive relationship and now, you need to be as emotionally healthy as possible for your children. As easy as it is to write a list of what to do when divorcing a narcissist, every single one of us knows that it’s anything but easy. It takes time, healing and a really good support system to help you disengage from a narcissist and his crazy-making ways.

Seek counseling or a support group that focuses on abusive/narcissistic relationships. The N isn’t likely to change. Having a support system will help you hold your boundaries with him and focus your attention on yourself and your children instead of his antics. He’s had enough of your time and attention. Don’t give him anymore.

4. Validate and empower your children.

If reducing conflict with the other parent is your number one job, a close second is validating and empowering your children. You know how the N operates and he will treat his children no differently. You can’t change him and unless there is verifiable, concrete evidence that his children aren’t safe with him (physical/sexual abuse, drug/alcohol addiction) your children will most likely have to spend time with him.

As much as we want to, we really can’t protect our children from the N’s insidious behavior. As much as we believe it’s better for them to be shielded from it, they deserve to spend time with their other parent. Regardless of his behavior, your children love their other parent. They might not always like him, but they do love him and they do deserve the right to make up their own mind about their parent. I’m not going to lie, this is really hard. Really, really hard. As a therapist once said to me, “you have to let your children make up their own mind or they may turn their anger on you for cutting their parent out of their life. They won’t understand why, only that you ruined that relationship.” Ouch! Better to let the N do it himself.

What you can do is be your children’s number one support system and sounding board. Validate, validate, validate! You know how the N lies, manipulates and distorts reality. It’s not bashing your former spouse to validate your child’s feelings or to say that certain behavior is not okay. They need to be supported in their own reality because they already know something is wrong. They are looking for a mooring place in the rocky sea the N creates. Use neutral statements, like “I’m sorry that happened”, “I’ll bet that feels bad” or just simply “Ouch”. Above all, let your children know that their parent’s behavior and treatment of them has nothing whatsoever do with them.

Lastly, don’t take it all on yourself. Children can benefit greatly from having a therapist who specializes in working with children. Play therapy is wonderful. Children don’t even know that they are in “therapy”. They just know they have a really good friend who listens to them. Having a neutral third party validate the same things that you are takes away the “mom versus dad” mentality. They will begin to trust their own thoughts and feelings about the situation and to realize on their own that their parent’s behavior is not okay.

Reducing conflict with an N parent will often feel like an ineffective battle at best and additional fuel to the abusive fire at worst. At the outset, the N’s behavior is likely to escalate as he realizes he’s losing control. Stay strong and keep your focus on yourself and your children, not the N’s antics. Hopefully, when he realizes he’s playing his games with himself, he’ll get the message and find his narcissistic supply elsewhere.

*I realize that narcissists come in both genders. I only use “he” because that’s my experience. Same rules apply if the narcissist in your life is a “she”.

Paula Lovgren is a divorced mom of two kids and three cats. She has forged a workable parallel parenting arrangement with her former spouse and considers it a win. In addition, she is a freelance writer, garden designer and all around chauffeur for her kids. But not her cats.

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

Click the link to purchase Tina’s new book, “Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle.”  You will find insight, red flag reflections and strategies on how to survive (and thrive!) while divorcing of co-parenting with a narcissist. Tired of panicking at the site of a new email from the narcissist in your inbox? Learn how to decode the emails and see them for what they are. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.