Category Archives: “Other Faces” of One Mom’s Battle

Divorcing a Narcissist: L and her Little One

Divorcing a Narcissist: L and her Little One

littleby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Seeking a private forum for advice, inspiration and support? Join Tina and the Lemonade Warriors in The Lemonade Club!  For information, please email Tina@onemomsbattle.com.

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

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

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

by Tina Swithin

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

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

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

Seeking a private forum for advice, inspiration and support? Join Tina and the Lemonade Warriors in The Lemonade Club!  For information, please email Tina@onemomsbattle.com.

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

Monroe County New York: CPS Failure

Monroe County New York: CPS Failure

stopDear New York,

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

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

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

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

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

by Anonymous Warrior Mom

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

“It is your favorite shirt, Spider Man.”

“No mommy.”

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

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

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

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

It’s the State’s opinion.

It’s my son.

And he’s hurt.

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

Seeking a private forum for advice, inspiration and support? Join Tina and the Lemonade Warriors in The Lemonade Club!  For information, please email Tina@onemomsbattle.com.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s book, Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle” is available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.

The Plight to Save Annie and her Sons

The Plight to Save Annie and her Sons

teddyby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

A Note of Thanks from Annie Miller

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

Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more on this at these 2 links:

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

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

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

Namaste, Annie

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

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

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

Seeking a private forum for advice, inspiration and support? Join Tina and the Lemonade Warriors in The Lemonade Club!  For information, please email Tina@onemomsbattle.com.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s book, Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle” is available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.

 

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.

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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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: A Male Perspective

Divorcing a Narcissist: A Male Perspective

holyNote from Tina: One Mom’s Battle has many faces and its my honor to share them with you.  My healing comes from sharing my story and from hearing your stories.  There is power in numbers and our numbers are growing.  It is my hope that this little “village” will be one strong voice which provides education to our court system and most importantly, brings change to our Family Court System. I am excited to share today’s blog with you because it was written by a gentleman who has had his life turned upside down by his ex-wife.  In gratitude, Tina

A Male Perspective: Perhaps I am naive, but religious leaders should be held to a higher standard than most.  If you listen to their words and messages, the focus is always on strategies to make the world a better place, or enhance your child’s life or to do the right thing. They should be grounded in high morals and ethics.  They are not perfect people but should strive to be so.

What I experienced in my marriage, however, was an ex-wife – and religious leader – who preached the exact opposite of what she practiced.

I initially admired my ex-wife.  I saw her as ambitious, savvy and attractive. We married about 18 months after we met and lived in two different cities before settling in to her home country. We have three wonderful children.

Immediately after we had our first child, we moved to the city where my ex-wife had grown up.  That’s when things began to change for me.  I remember chalking up my discomfort to being a relatively new father and the fact that I was living in a new country.  But it was so much more than that. My life was now my ex-wife’s life.  As a religious leader, she was always on the go: nightly committee meetings, church services, life cycle events – these were all part of the life that she led and that I had accepted. At times, it was a difficult life.  We didn’t have much quality family time, as our schedule was essentially built around her schedule.

As the years went on, two more children were born.  But I felt stuck.  I was stuck.  My career was seemingly never good enough for her or her family. Even when it came to my children, I also felt scrutinized by my ex-wife, even though I spent considerable time with them.

Just before I learned about my ex-wife’s affair, my family visited for my oldest son’s birthday.  When they returned, they told that they couldn’t believe how stressed I looked considering how much I was doing for my wife and kids.  They were amazed and remarked that they would never want to trade places with me.

And then I learned about my ex-wife’s affair with a staff member from her congregation.  Yes – HER congregation.  Six months prior to learning about the affair, we had moved to a neighboring community to start a new church.  I was excited for my ex-wife, but concerned about the impact on my family.  In many ways, I felt this was not the right decision because of how it might impact my kids.  It wasn’t the right time to do this – I thought.  We had a very young family – I thought.  My ex-wife convinced me that the reason I was reluctant to make the move was because I was afraid of change, which may be partially true. But it was so much more than that.

At any rate, I convinced myself that my ex-wife would do an amazing job and we packed our bags for the new community. Six months later, I witnessed the affair between my ex-wife and a staff member and the rest is history.

Of course, the affair was my fault.  And then I acted the way I did because of my parent’s upbringing.  Ah, the beating my ex gave me.  Through minimal counselling after I witnessed the infidelity, I (finally) knew there was something very wrong with this person.  Why was she always blaming others for her failures?  Why did she regularly belittle people even though she was a religious figure? Why did she lack empathy and common “sweetness” except when she had to (in front of crowds, on stage)? Despite the hurt and shock of the affair, it was clear that this woman – my wife – did not love me.  She only loved herself.

Shortly after our separation, the false accusations began against me – this when my ex-wife had asked for an amicable separation.  Threats of defamation suits against me got the ball rolling to keep my mouth shut about her affair and other matters.  After all, few clergy would remain in a position of power after word gets out (although ironically that doesn’t last long). On top of the defamation suit I faced, my ex-wife:

  • Threatened that after I included a clause in the draft separation agreement, she would among other things, make Child Protective Services very interested in me. She did eventually go to Child Protective Services – making false accusations along the way.
  • Constantly harassed me through e-mails and texts.
  • Suggested that my oldest child’s behaviour was my fault because of “bad parenting”.
  • Developed “lists” of complaints against me for our mediator to review.
  • Recently accused me of abusing my kids (“on good authority”).
  • Befriended and manipulated a counsellor from the local social service agency, who refused to see me (or my kids) because of a “conflict of interest”.  Only through a three-month complaint process did the counsellor manage to understand that my ex-wife was lying to her.  After all, who are you going to believe – me or the female leader of a progressive church?
  • Threatened to call the police on my girlfriend after she returned my son late from a haircut.
  • Denied access of my oldest son, literally congratulating him for not going with me on certain days.
  • Went into my car on several occasions to ensure I had properly installed my youngest daughter’s car seat – this even after the local social services agency confirmed that I had installed it properly.

And to be quite honest, this only covers a bit of it.  She is reckless and erratic.  She regularly projects – recently referring to me as a bully. She shows no boundaries.  She lacks empathy – so much so that someone closely connected to our case suggested that she was the least empathetic person that they had ever met.  But she is so incredibly believable – again, who is not going to trust the local religious leader?

And despite all of this, my access time with my kids has been reduced.  Yes – reduced.  The system rewards a person like this because of what she does for my kids (or is perceived to do for my kids), not who she is.  Apparently, helping them with their homework or getting them to bed at 8:30 sharp is more important than the emotional support that I give my kids (not that I’m lax at either one of these, although I give them a few more minutes at night J).  Apparently, the home they’ve known for just 18 months is more stable than the one I’ve made for them in the last six months.

My kids are the most important thing to me.  They are not the most important thing to my ex-wife.  As she once told me in front of a marriage counsellor right after I learned about the infidelity, “this (her new job) was supposed to be our fourth child and OUR path.” For me, there is no comparison.

It is the impact this has had on my kids that hurts me the most.  While I know I can be the father I want to be outside of the marriage – as I am no longer my ex-wife’s punching bag – I feel a great sense of guilt, and sadness and pain. My kids don’t deserve this.  I’ve taken so many bullets, and I will take more to shield my kids from this person.

In essence, my ex-wife represents what’s wrong with our society. She preaches against bullies, but acts like one regularly.  She promotes family values, but regularly discourages her kids to have a relationship with me.  She speaks about qualities like compassion and empathy when she shows none (unless people are watching). She advocates the importance of our souls but lacks her own.

The question most people ask is, don’t people know what has happened here?  My answer is simple.  Some know and don’t care.  My ex-wife is fairly popular in the community and some want to ride her coattails.  Others know only what she tells them.  Still others are seemingly left in the dark, too ignorant to figure out what occurred right under their noses.  That said, many people have figured out what has happened and in some cases, have come to support me. Eventually, many others will, as well.

As for me, it was relatively easy to move on from the actual relationship.  It was how my ex twisted the knife that nearly ruined me and my relationship with my young kids.  At times, I wanted to give up.  Everyone and everything seemed against me.  Today, I have found a new love – a woman who shows more compassion to me and my kids than I ever knew possible. It’s a strange feeling – to be truly loved by this woman – but it feels amazing.

Some would say that such experiences only make you stronger. I would be lying if I said this was the case. The wounds run pretty deep. But I am rebuilding myself and my life. It takes time. But I will do it for my kids and my new love and for my new life. I will be happy again. ###

Resources for men who are abused: www.menwhoareabused.com and www.shrink4men.com

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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.

Divorcing a Narcissist: The Family Court System Needs an Overhaul

Divorcing a Narcissist: The Family Court System Needs an Overhaul

cryingNote from Tina: If I ever begin to question “why” I am doing what I am doing, I will re-read the message that I received this morning. The Family Court System in our country needs a complete overhaul. Literally makes me sick to receive messages like this. Sending love and prayers to “A” and her beautiful little girl ♥ Tina

Dear Tina,

I just read the Kindle version of your book. One of the therapists at the DV group I have been going to recommended it. It helped me to feel not so alone, and like it really “wasn’t me” and wasn’t my fault. It really is amazing how identical so much of what you wrote about is how my ex is, the same things said, the same words, the same mind games and manipulations, the same alcohol, the same twisted parents, I’d swear you were taking about my ex. I chose to message you instead of posting this on your wall because the ex has people monitoring my page and posts and everything.

I am so distraught and upset right now. You are so right about the Family Law system being screwed up. It is, and these guys use it for their own games using our poor children as pawns, nothing more than objects. I fled my home with my daughter after my ex made an attempt on my life and was nearly successful.  After many threats that our daughter (8 months old when I left) would be “motherless”, I filed for divorce in a neighboring state and was granted an emergency motion and temp custody. The court finally found it did not have jurisdiction and insisted we file in our home state. My ex beat me to it and the court made a decision based on his prejudgement filing alone, without a hearing, and granted him one full WEEK with him. I was notified mid-day on Friday and the visit was to begin 48 hours  later- on Sunday.

My daughter is still primarily breastfed- easily 80% of the time. She has never had a bottle, refuses breast milk from a cup and only wants to nurse- straight from me, her mother. She is allergic to cows milk, so she has not been on that or any other “substitute”. The longest she has EVER been gone from me is 4 hours, and she nurses right before and after. None of that mattered to the court. I was even able to get letter from her pediatrician strongly advising against such a dramatic change so quickly and asking that they please not unnecessarily traumatize our infant daughter, but my ex and his lawyer insisted. He even went so far as to say that he’d “just put her on formula” despite her NEVER having had formula and refusing a bottle.

Now my baby is 420 miles away, I am beyond worried, and don’t know what to do. I just don’t understand how the court can make such a major decision after only seeing one twisted side of the story which involved lies, and then claim it is in my baby’s best interest. I don’t know what to do next, how to get through this, how to help my baby. I feel so absolutely destroyed.

Your strength is encouraging to me. Though I also am a bit feeling like this is only the beginning of a long never ending road. It seems as though he is going to follow the same pattern that you went through. I pray for some of your strength. Thank you for writing this book and speaking out. “A”

“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.