Category Archives: Tina’s Story

Tina Swithin has gained international attention for her blog titled, One Mom’s Battle and for her role as an advocate for change in the Family Court System. Tina has survived a Category 5 Divorce Hurricane and has taken shelter in her blog and new book, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle. Tina currently resides in sunny California with her fiance, two daughters and three-legged tortoise named “Oliver.”

Divorcing a Narcissist: Step by Step and Minute by Minute

Divorcing a Narcissist: Step by Step and Minute by Minute

stepbystep-2013-Aug16by Tina Swithin

I have been struggling with how to process the events that have unfolded in my life over the past two months. If you missed my July e-newsletter, click here to get up to speed.

I have met many challenges dating back to childhood traumas but I have always dusted myself off and faced each bump head on. This one has knocked me down harder than anything I’ve ever experienced. My ex-brother-in-law, Jason Porter was one of the biggest sources of contention in my custody battle. While I knew he was incredibly ill, it was deeper and more evil than I ever imagined. In my gut I always knew that he had the capacity to molest children but over the years, it’s obvious that he has become bolder and more brazen. ALWAYS listen to your gut. It is never wrong.

When I say that I was knocked down, that is an understatement. After the initial arrest, my ex-brother-in-law was out on bail and I was left suffering with panic attacks. This is a man who has been suicidal and homicidal for years and if his entire world had crashed, what did he possibly have to lose? I hold the “truth card” about Jason and his family and that made me a target. I didn’t even want to be in my own home. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I felt like a sitting duck while in my office and stopped going to work. I wanted to go into hiding yet that is easier said than done and takes significant financial resources.

On July 15, Jason was taken into custody in Southern California and held on the highest bail in my county: 7 million dollars. He was slammed with a slew of charges that I still can’t bring myself to read in detail because of the vile, disturbing nature of what he has done….and the harsh reality of what he has always been capable of. The media storm has been in full force – cameras in the courtroom seeking a glimpse of this monster. Other inmates questioning why his bail is set so high and curious about what he has done to warrant this. Biker’s Against Child Abuse in the courtroom making their presence known. And…me in the courtroom…

Someone asked why I would subject myself to his court appearances. The question initially struck me as odd. I can’t imagine not being there. I am there to represent all of the innocent children in this case. I am there to represent the parents of the children who have had their world’s destroyed. I am there for my own healing (that is going to take time) and to personally watch justice being served after all these years of knowing who he was…and being dismissed by everyone in his family and in the family court system. I want him to see my face and my husband’s face every time he is escorted into that courtroom.

On Jason’s first court date, he was out of custody and actually smirked several times. He tried to make a joke when the Judge asked him about scheduling a new court date. His first court appearance while in custody brought him down a notch but he still carried the same cocky attitude and smirk. With two more court dates under his belt while shackled like the monster that he is, his demeanor has changed. My husband said he looked “institutionalized” on this last round – the grey in his hair is now noticeable and his face looks sunken. The smirk is gone and reality has hit him: 14 of the charges that he is facing carry life sentences…as they should.

This series of events has left me devastated. My business has suffered and when you are self employed and trying to rebuild your life, that is not a good thing. My clients have had to take a backseat because most days, I haven’t felt capable of helping myself let alone anyone else. I cut my client load in half because I needed to practice what I preach: self care. My landlord at my office building contacted me two weeks into the month asking if I planned to pay July rent. I. Forgot. To. Pay. My. Rent!!! That was a wake-up call – the rest of the world was still rotating around the sun but I felt as though my world had stopped. I knew that I needed to pull myself together.

I questioned why I had felt so strong during my custody battle but every ounce of my strength seemed to have vanished with that one phone call notifying me that Jason stood accused of child molestation. Rebecca of OMB summed it up as she always does: during my custody battle, things felt out of control but I still held some control in the fact that I could file a motion with the court, ask for a new evaluation, report to minor’s counsel or hire a PI to collect information. I stayed busy building my case and documenting. With this, everything was spinning out of control and all I could do was watch. When my phone would ring, my heart would sink. When a Facebook message request came through from a complete stranger who had been harmed in the past (emotionally or sexually) from my ex-brother-in-law, I would feel waves of panic take over my body. When someone sent me a message stating she “heard” that Jason had been released from jail despite the 7 million dollar bail, I had a full blown panic attack — thankfully, that was a false alarm but I went into fight or flight mode within a nano second. Every time a news story broke, I felt a sense of panic.

I plan to do what Tina’s do best: get back up and dust myself off. I placed a new date on calendar to officially change Piper and Sarah’s last name to “Swithin” and that court date is on September 21st. With this new court date, I needed to serve Seth and submit proof of that service to the court. This is where the humor comes into the story…silly Seth. I was able to locate his address with the help of a super savvy friend and confirm it with a private detective. A 5.5 million dollar mansion. I almost fell out of my chair. A 5.5 million dollar home and he claims to be impoverished. He’s lived there for over two years. Additional research shows that he bought a brand-new car in June – it’s paid off. He is $40,000 in arrears. I drive a 2011 car and my children don’t have a college savings account…but back to reality, we are taking about a narcissist here. They have different priorities.

I found a process server (Rui of Bay Area Process Servers) in Northern California. Rui was known to serve the unservable and that he did. On the third day of attempted service, Rui staked out Seth’s home. Literally. Midnight on a random Wednesday, who comes riding up on his bicycle so inebriated that he can barely open the door to his Mc Mansion (that he claims NOT to live in)? You guessed it, Seth. The amazing Rui even took photos of Seth being served…drunk, on a random Wednesday night. I have seen Seth “annihilated drunk” a few times during our marriage and when I saw the photos, I knew that this was a man on an incredibly pitiful downward spiral. The pathetic nature of the entire situation – he is so rich that he is poor. A 42-year old “man” riding a bicycle drunk to his big home on a Wednesday night because he lost his driver’s license. He was so drunk that he could barely open his front door. There have been quite a few angels on my path over the years and Rui the Process Server scores up at the top. He told me, “I’m going to get him, Tina” and that he did.

One foot in front of the other — step by step: Forget day by day, it has felt like step by step and minute by minute. My daughter’s began school this week and I am thankful that I am being forced into a schedule. This ensures that I will actually get out of my pajamas and into a routine. I sit here typing from The Lemonade Stand (aka my office) for the first time in a very long time. It feels good to be here. I am easing back into my coaching practice and I will hold onto my faith while trusting that everything is unfolding the way it is supposed to. I pushed “pause” to catch my breath – I am human and sometimes, we need to give ourselves a break from the battle.

I’d like to end on A HUGE positive: media is listening. It is next to impossible to get them to cover Family Law cases due to the liability and threat of lawsuits. I was recently contacted by a reporter who had heard the buzz about my case, my ex-brother-in-law and my battle in Family Court. He spent a considerable amount of time digging through public records (my case) at the courthouse and wrote this piece: Family of Paso molestation defendant warned court of volatile behavior. True to narcissistic fashion, Seth is threatening to sue me and local media outlets…because it’s obviously MY fault that his brother stands accused of child molestation and child porn. It is MY fault that the records are open to the public.

If you’ve read this far, thank you! Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts over the past couple of months. Thank you for your support and encouragement. Thank you!

###

Divorcing a Narcissist: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

One Mom’s Battle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children. Please consider a donation to help with our efforts.

History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2011, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother (Tina Swithin) navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth with over 100-chapters in five different countries. In 2014, One Mom’s Battle achieved non-profit status which will allow the group to take their mission to the next level.

Tina Swithin offers annual retreats, coaching services and more at www.tinaswithin.com 

A Broken Family Court System and an Enabling Mother

A Broken Family Court System and an Enabling Mother

Pink-Broken-Heart-Cartoon-PictureNote: In my books, I refer to my ex-husband’s mother as, “Cleo.” I refer to my children as Piper and Sarah and my ex-husband as Seth. Even though the adults in this situation have been publicly outed, I will continue to protect the identities of everyone except my ex-brother-in-law, Jason Robert Porter.  

by Tina Swithin

As a mother, one of my primary goals is to raise happy, healthy children who turn into happy, healthy adults. Since my children were in a high chair, I have taught them about consequences. If they drop their sippy cup on accident, I will gladly pick it up but if you launch your sippy cup across the room on purpose…bummer. No more sippy cup.  They aren’t even teenagers yet but my children will tell you that every action has a consequence – positive, negative or neutral.

When I was dating Seth and through our marriage, I looked up to his mother (who I refer to as, “Cleo” in my books) as a teacher, a school counselor, a wife and a mother when it came to parenting advice or life wisdom. As time went on, I began to see red flags. She turned her head when her husband grabbed my step-mothers butt during a family gathering. She turned her head when we told her about inappropriate comments that her husband had made to my friends while drunk. When I discovered she was turning her head when confronted about her husband’s indiscretions on a trip to Thailand, I was appalled. I began to notice that her husband and her sons could do no wrong. She walked around like a Stepford Wife and never stopped smiling. During a rough patch in our relationship (ie I was holding him accountable for something), my ex-husband commented that he wished I could be more like his mom — she was always happy according to Seth.

My mother-in-law is a classic enabler.

When I told my mother-in-law that her son, Jason Porter, was suicidal and homicidal, she BEGGED me not to tell his therapist or his doctor. She didn’t want him to be hospitalized or thrown in jail. Her instructions were to keep him under control until she returned home in a matter of weeks and then, she would take over. As someone who prided herself as having a master’s degree in education along with a family that often reminded me that I lacked a college degree, I looked up to her and trusted her. I did as she asked — I didn’t tell anyone that her son was suicidal or homicidal. His highly qualified mother was going to be returning within weeks and she would get him the help he needed. Or so I thought.

“Cleo” didn’t get Jason Porter help. She continued to enable him. Getting him help would have made her family look less-than-perfect. She continued to ask us to “play nice” and pretend to be a happy family.

June of 2006 was the last straw for me. After Jason Porter beat a litter of 10-week old puppies on Father’s Day in front of my one-year old daughter and his parents did nothing about it, I cut off all communication with him. Two years and six weeks later, we received an email from Cleo (July 27, 2008) in which she begged us to come together and “pretend” to be a family — because that’s what enabling mothers do….they pretend:

“Think about how you feel holding on to this sense of wrong, self- righteousness, anger. It’s been two years and six weeks now. Is it making you feel better? Is it making you a better person? Is it in the best interests of you – really? Of your family – either immediate or extended? Is it based on love? Or is it based on disappointment in the other person, hurt feelings, pride that you have been wronged, treated with a lack of respect, based on the reality or perception that someone else did not honor you and your person?

So, I am going to ask each of you to do something for me. I know that you are not yet ready to forgive one another for wrongs, real and perceived. I honor that, and so I am not asking that you do that – forgive one another – nor that you let bygones be bygones and go on like nothing has happened. LOTS has happened and it’s real. I am asking however, just this:

When Dad and I are home for summer or Christmas, can we please be a family for those few weeks? Can we get together once a week for dinner all together – I’ll buy – I’ll cook even!? Can we meet at concerts in the park, or go to Mass together? Thanksgiving together? Can we share Christmas– just for that one day? Can we celebrate Father’s Day (scary, I know) and have a big old bash on the 4th like the old days? Can we suspend, for what will be no more than 10 shared times per year, our hurt and anger and mistrust? I really don’t care at all whether you talk to one another or acknowledge one another’s existence when we’re not home – that is up to you. I realize I am asking a lot. But I believe in you. While we are home, I want us to be a family. I need us to be a family.”  – Cleo

Fast forward to August 10, 2011, two-years into my custody battle when I was fighting tooth and nail to protect my daughters from Jason Porter. In a court declaration, Cleo wrote the following:

“My husband is a 40-year educator, and locally, a past principal before we moved overseas where he served a similar role. I am a lifelong educator as well, currently working as a school counselor. I DO hold a valid and current California teaching credential. I come home to California for about eight weeks in the summer and two weeks at Christmas, while my husband is here living with Jason’s family in Paso Robles. We have grown sons and are a close-knit family and extended family with ties on the Central Coast since 1976.

I respect Tina Swithin as the mother of our grandchildren. However, Ms. Swithin has decided that being in the presence of our eldest son, Jason Porter, somehow presents a risk to her children. This has no basis in fact, and is the reason my husband and I would like to address the court today. I do understand Ms. Swithin’s concerns. But while I understand them, I in no way agree with them. Jason has had some issues with depression in the past and has said and texted some terribly inappropriate things to Ms. Swithin. His intentions were to protect and defend his brother, “Seth”: his methods were wrong and we do not agree or condone them. However, that does not mean he is a danger to Piper and Sarah. We resent the implication that we would somehow put our grandchildren at risk. We resent the implication that Jason Porter is a terrible person and that merely being in his presence will damage the girls.

Jason is now married, a father of a one-year old son and a respected contractor in North County. He would be here today were he not required to be on a job. It has been difficult already to have so little time together as a family when I’m home and to further divide that time between Seth and the girls on their weekends together and the rest of the family. My husband and I share a Paso Robles home with Jason, his wife and our grandson.

We are simply asking you, your Honor, to modify the custodial agreement so that when Seth has custody of the girls, they can be in the presence of their uncle, Jason Porter, and can grow up in a caring family-oriented environment with their Aunt and cousin.”

She continued to enable him. She continued to lie for him. She continued to lie to Family Court professionals. She did NOT respect me as the mother of my children contrary to what she wrote in her court declaration nor did she respect my fight to protect my children. This woman was more concerned about herself and the fake family image she worked so hard to maintain. Her supporters are now claiming that she didn’t live with Jason Porter — yet her court declarations say she did. Her supporters believe that she shouldn’t have lost her job but she had no problem using her status as a “lifelong educator” (under oath) to lend credibility to her plight to put my children under the same roof as a vile, evil child molester. You don’t get to pick and choose when you use your status as an educator. A mandatory reporter living in a child porn factory is a disgrace.

If you are a mother enabling your children, I beg you to stop. You are not only harming them but you are potentially harming everyone around them. If you know your children are disturbed, GET THEM HELP and stop brushing things under the rug. That rug becomes so full that now, an entire community has been affected.

This monstrosity never should have happened. Please teach your children that actions have consequences. I beg you. I hope that by sharing my story, other people will wake up and take notice. An enabling mother and a broken Family Court system are a horrific combination. I pray that my family’s suffering was not in vain. I pray that justice is finally served and that all of the affected children can begin to heal. I pray that this entire family is held accountable for their part in protecting this monster. I pray that the next time a parent sits in a courtroom or in front of a custody evaluator or in front of minor’s counsel, that maybe, just maybe they will actually LISTEN. Maybe, just maybe, they will do their jobs and act in the best interest of the children.

###

Divorcing a Narcissist: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

One Mom’s Battle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children. Please consider a donation to help with our efforts.

History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2011, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother (Tina Swithin) navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth with over 100-chapters in five different countries. In 2014, One Mom’s Battle achieved non-profit status which will allow the group to take their mission to the next level.

Tina Swithin offers annual retreats, coaching services and more at www.tinaswithin.com 

 

The Custody Evaluation and the Enabling Mother

The Custody Evaluation and the Enabling Mother

The Enabling Mother and a Broken Family Court Systemby Tina Swithin

Yesterday, I discussed the 2010 Custody Evaluation that placed my daughters in the “family home” of my ex-brother-in-law, Jason Porter, despite my concerns about him which were expressed in great detail during the evaluation. This ex brother-in-law is currently being housed in San Luis Obispo County jail on an unprecedented seven million dollar bail facing 31 charges of child molestation and child abuse. I was told that this may be the largest child sex abuse case in our county in 15-years. I am heartbroken because this was preventable.

During the 2010 custody evaluation, I was hopeful. The evaluator, Noelia de la Torre of Family Court Services in San Luis Obispo, seemed to see the issues at hand. At one point she even called Child Welfare Services on my ex-husband during the investigation when he left my (then) three-year old daughter in a car unattended for 45 minutes immediately after a hospitalization for a complex seizure. There were strict orders in place that our daughter could not be unattended – even for a moment.

At hopeful as I was about the evaluation uncovering the truth, my heart sank when the evaluator mentioned that she would be interviewing my ex-husband’s mother in person. At the time, she was teaching overseas (home for summers and holidays) but she was well aware of all of the issues because she had either witnessed them in person or was told about each issue by phone or email. She was the only one Seth would listen to so I tried for years to get her to help. Initially, my pleas were for her to get both of her sons into therapy. As my marriage came to an end, my pleas changed to begging. I didn’t feel safe and I knew my children weren’t safe. While I knew she was the most knowledgeable person when it came to the issues I was facing with her sons, she was also the most dangerous because she was so skilled at enabling their behaviors and doing damage control for her family. She was as skilled as Mel Gibson’s PR firm when it came to spit-shining her family’s public image due to years of practice with her own husband.

I sat down and wrote a letter to the evaluator expressing my concerns – this is a snippet of that letter:

Noelia, I am very confused about the relevance of interviewing my mother-in-law and I hope you can help me to understand the importance of the interview.  My concern lies in the fact that she has had very limited interaction with my daughters– limited to a couple of weeks during Christmas and summers which her time is divided between her sons in Northern California and Southern California.  I think she saw the girls for a total of four days in December of 2009 and prior to that once or twice a week in July and August of 2009.  As you know, she lives overseas and while their family appears very healthy on the outside (degrees in education, long marriage, extremely personable, etc), she is one of the most dysfunctional people that I know. 

Does she love the girls- yes. She has played a large part in our marital problems due to her inability to recognize the problems in her sons (Jason and Seth both) and is very manipulative.  This is a woman who sat in Applebees listening to her eldest son, Jason talk about raping and murdering a woman in Texas without flinching.  I accompanied her son Jason to counseling when they tried to brush the issues under the table. This is also a woman who watched as I grabbed my daughter and fled Jason‘s home as he systematically beat 8 tiny puppies (10 weeks old) one at a time until they were screaming in pain.     

As you can see by many of the emails in your possession, I have reached out to my mother-in-law for help on many occasions to no avail.  She is very much in denial about problems that exist within her family.  I am concerned because I think it would be more helpful (and relevant) to interview people who have been a part of our family (mine, Seth’s and the girls) on an ongoing basis.  People who have seen my parenting up close and personal– the girls’ Godmother who has been in our family since Piper was five months old on a monthly (weekly and daily) basis consistently.

Your email through me off a bit as I am trying to find the relevance in an interview with my mother-in-law.  She is very good at painting a rosy picture; regardless if there is truth in it.  I hope that you can help me to understand and once again, I greatly appreciate your time.   

Sincerely, Tina

My aunt then wrote the evaluator because she was equally concerned about this interview:

Seth and his family live in a fake world that has been very well constructed by educated, intelligent, sick people.  They seem to operate in a world where calm denial is the motto. If you pretend something didn’t happen, if you do not talk about it, if you hide it well enough everything is fine. Go ahead and lie, cheat, deceive, commit crimes, hurt people……it’s all OK if no one admits to it, doesn’t talk about it, and if you drive a BMW.  If you have a degree, a good job, and a nice smile, all is well in their world.  Well, from what I see, their world is a sick place ruled by Seth’s mother.  Tina has tried over and over again to get her to help Seth and help their situation–to no avail. Tina is more than capable of speaking for herself so I have not needed to take action nor has Tina asked me to speak on her behalf except on rare occasions. I have tried through emails and the one phone discussion with Seth’s mom –with Tina’s approval.  Tina has felt that she is the only person in that family that may be able to influence Seth to get help.  I feel that she has an extreme need to be perfect and to avoid conflict at all cost.  Even though I do not believe Seth will ever get help or change I had to try.

My plea to Seth’s mom was not professionally based. It came from Tina’s Auntie Bev. (I serve her in a mother-like role.  She is my girl in my heart.)  It was a plea that came from one mom to another.  I hoped if I just let my raw emotions talk for me that it may bust through her iron mask and have an effect.  It evoked some emotion from her……but obviously not the emotion I had hoped.  In fact, her response unfortunately confirmed to me that she is not willing/able to be honest with this situation.  I will never contact her again for help.  I will respond to her email at some point…. mom to mom. – Aunt Bev

The evaluator bought Seth’s mom’s well-oiled, family sales pitch and all of the sudden, all of the evidence I had presented about Jason Porter and this family was brushed aside. On the SLO Family Court website, it states that their goal is “a healthy relationship with both parents.” That goal needs to change. Parental rights once again seem to supersede children’s rights. Acting in the best interest of the child should be the goal. In high-conflict divorces such as mine, the common denominator is typically a Cluster B personality disordered individual which means that both parents are not capable of having a healthy relationship with the child. The disordered parent has a goal of winning and controlling at all costs.

I tried for so long to break through to Seth’s mom — in voicing my frustrations to Seth’s Aunt about the issues, she responded with this:

Re ..the family keeping things “hush hush..”  I think my sister (Seth’s mom) is overly discrete… about how she tries to keep major family problems quiet.  I guess,  in her heart,  she is trying to protect people’s privacy and to guard the person against any possible embarrassment.

She did a fantastic job of covering major family problems and keeping them quiet. She protected their privacy and she guarded the family from embarrassment at the expense of many children. The reality is, Seth’s mom is a mandated reporter and has been since I met the family. She had a legal obligation (and a court order) to protect my children, your children and any children in her care. She brushed everything under the rug and not only that, went above and beyond to cover and lie for her sons. While her sons may have been beyond help, she had an obligation to protect children and she failed miserable. When I first heard about the arrest, I was distraught and beside myself — and I sent her a message. Her response: to shift the blame and tell me how “heartsick” SHE was — what about these nine victims (and counting)?! Here are some snippets of her response:

NO, I DID NOT KNOW about Jason, contrary to your accusations.  I also did not know that you had received an advanced degree in behavioral psychology which apparently qualifies you to label Seth as a narcissist and Jason as ‘sick.’ I am heartsick and physically ill…not that that matters to you.

What I do know: I know that since your and Seth’s painful, ugly divorce nine years ago, you have taken every opportunity to slander, defame, and gossip about our family in a thinly disguised as ‘anonymous’ yet very public blog and among your circle of friends and community. I know that you have profited personally and financially from dragging our personal lives into your ‘fame.’  What kind of person gloats and celebrates and makes public the pain of another? What kind of person continues to do so for nine years? You are divorced. You have sole custody of the girls. What happens in my family is no longer a concern of yours.

I know that your self-righteous compulsion to drag our family name and reputation through the dirt in your thinly disguised ‘anonymous’ blog  – which anyone with half a brain can trace to us – is destructive, malicious, and deliberately hurtful with no regard for the consequences to me. I know that at one point we were close and you were extremely helpful to my son and I during his serious depression.

I know that I love and will always love Piper and Sarah.

I know that filing a restraining order against our family is an absurd publicity stunt. We HAVE HAD no contact. I have NOT initiated any further contact since you asked me not to months ago. Trust me, we are not going to reach out so what possible purpose would you have in doing so except to create more sensationalist material for your blog?

I know that my personal compassion and principles would never allow me to wish upon you, nor upon any person, the public humiliation and sadness that your ongoing attacks, “your battle” as you call it, have caused me and our family. I have never attacked you back; I have never intimated about your boat/bikini girl days, or your failed child care business and money owed.

I know that you are continuing to google, and email, and incite people against Jason and against our family.  Example from your earlier slander: “three men living alone in a home with a Thai bought bride.” How vindictive. How hateful. I know that you have leaked the connection between Jason’s arrest, and my job, and that there is a very real possibility I will lose my job because of what you have done to make this even more public.

Despite all this, and only for the sake of Piper and Sarah, I will honestly consider your text request from yesterday (for Seth to terminate his parental rights). But only if the blogging and emailing to incite against Jason stops, only if your harassment of our family ceases  – by you and anyone affiliated with you. – Seth’s mom

All of her hard work…all of these years of spit-shining the family image gone…her son’s true colors have been revealed by HIS doing. Yet somehow, I am to blame for the publicity this case has received? No compassion for his victims…only concern about her job. As much as I know about this family, you would think I would stop being shocked by their actions.

To the families who have been affected by this sick, evil monster: my heart breaks for you. My heart breaks for all of us. This tragedy was preventable. It didn’t have to happen. These issues should not have been minimized or brushed under the rug — these issues have been glaring for years and they were ignored and covered up. Everyone who has been affected is in my daily prayers. I give you my word that I will not stop until the people who have allowed this to happen are held accountable. — Tina Swithin

###

One Mom’s Battle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children. Please consider a donation to help with our efforts.

History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2011, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother (Tina Swithin) navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth with over 100-chapters in five different countries. In 2014, One Mom’s Battle achieved non-profit status which will allow the group to take their mission to the next level.

Divorcing a Narcissist: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Failure in the Family Court System: 31 Counts of Child Molestation

Failure in the Family Court System: 31 Counts of Child Molestation
PORTER, JASON ROBERT A00667845by Tina Swithin
Many of you know about “Robert” from my book, “Divorcing a Narcissist.” While I worked hard to protect this family’s identity for many years, he has thrust himself into the spotlight as the monster I’ve always known him to be. I have been BEGGING this monster’s family to get him help since 2003. The Family Court System has been aware of my concerns since 2009 yet NO ONE listened to me.
 
  • NINE (9) victims identified so far – additional children remain unidentified. 
  • THIRTY-ONE (31) charges so far – many carry life sentences.
  • An unprecedented $7 MILLION dollar bail.
In 2010, Noelia de la Torre of Family Court Services in San Luis Obispo conducted a 3111 Custody Evaluation. During that evaluation, Jason Porter’s mother swooped in and brushed all of my concerns under the rug. This custody evaluator bought her story….hook, line and sinker despite overwhelming evidence that he was a danger to my daughters and others. I have begged his mother to get him help for years and during our marriage, Seth and I were united in our decision to keep our daughters away from him. The day our marriage ended, he began bringing our daughters around this sick man.
 
My aunt sent an email to Noelia de la Torre during the custody evaluation BEGGING her to listen to us. This was a snippet of the email: 
“Do I believe Tina when she tells me that Seth’s brother Jason and his father returned from a trip to Thailand and that they went to a bar where young women/girls sit under the bar to give men blow jobs while they drink? Yes. Do I believe Tina when she tells me that she sat through dinner with Seth and his family while Jason talked about murdering and raping women–and that his mother didn’t miss a bite or flinch? Yes. Am I disturbed that Seth’s mother prides herself with being a degreed counselor and yet she fails to counsel her sons or encourage them to learn to be better parents and human beings through the benefit of counseling? Yes.”
At the conclusion of the evaluation, Noelia sat my ex-husband and I down and went over her recommendations. When she told me that she recommended my daughters be allowed access to Jason Porter, I had to leave the room to compose myself. She then bullied me into signing her proposed parenting plan which allowed this monster access to my children. My ex-husband and his mother were court-ordered to never leave the children unaccompanied with Jason Porter but this was a family who had already proven their inability to tell the truth or to follow court orders. 
I sat in the courtroom on Tuesday. This evil monster was shackled and wearing orange. He did not enter a plea. He saw me sitting there and he will see me at every court date until he is behind bars. I will speak out for the rest of my life about how the Family Court System failed my family. I will speak out for the rest of my life about how his mother failed. This woman, a mandated reporter, was basically residing in a child porn factory. Yes, you read that right…Jason lived with his parents and his Thai bride….and he was abusing all of these innocent children right under their nose.

Divorcing a Narcissist: When the Truth Finally Prevails

Divorcing a Narcissist: When the Truth Finally Prevails

Porter mugby Tina Swithin

July 12, 2016

Three years ago this month, the Family Court System (San Luis Obispo) finally got it right. For years, I had acted as my own attorney in a custody battle that received international media attention. I was up against my ex-husband, Seth and his attorney but also a family that defied evil. Aside from my ex-husband, my greatest fear was his disturbed older brother and his father who was known in several counties as the “pervert principal.” Even scarier, his enabling mother who worked overtime to spit-shine the family image and brush things under the rug. While I hold my ex-husband, his brother and his father accountable for their evil ways, I find the most fault with their mother who was conscious enough and able to prevent the destruction caused by these men. Instead, she lied over and over for her family – even under oath when it came time to protect my daughters, her granddaughters. Had she not worked so hard to keep the family image perfect and shiny, many lives would have been spared pain and heartache.

On Tuesday, June 28th, I had picked up my daughters and their friend from soccer camp and we made a run to the pet store. Then the phone call from my husband came. “What is your ex-brother-in-law’s middle name?” I told him and then I heard, “Oh my God. I have the craziest news. Can you talk?” I immediately began to shake and I told the three girls to head over to the pet section and wait for me. I sat down on a bench as he read the headlines: “Mother finds her 6-year-old girl with 44-year-old man.”

I was now in the midst of full-blown PTSD and needed to get off the phone. This was my worst nightmare. I couldn’t catch my breath. I grabbed a few things from the store while in a complete daze and headed home with the girls. I couldn’t get to my computer fast enough to read the news which was now breaking in every media outlet in my area. My husband was choked up and I was barely holding it together.

THIS is the brother that I fought SO hard to keep my daughters away from.

THIS is the man whom I live in fear of.

SO many mixed feelings – while validation describes some of the feelings, it isn’t the right word because there is a victim involved.

The layers with this brother are so deep that I don’t even know where to begin. In my first book, Divorcing a Narcissist, I refer to him as, “Robert,” and for consistency sake, this is how I will refer to him here. In the beginning of my relationship with Seth, I was very close with Robert. I thought of him as a big brother. I quickly began to see things that bothered me and those things mounted to the point that I was terrified of Robert. From 2001 to 2006, I begged and pleaded for Robert’s mom to get him help. He was homicidal, suicidal, beat puppies and made out with a 14-year old girl at a wedding. It was her first kiss…he was 30 years old. His mom sat eating chips and dip as he spoke of murdering and raping a woman – she just kept eating without missing a beat.

My first daughter, Piper, was born in 2005 and a year later, my then-husband Seth and I decided that our children would never be around this man. Their mother begged me to put my feelings aside and “pretend” to be a happy family during family gatherings and holidays. I refused. That caused major tension in the family. I didn’t care. My second daughter was born in 2007 and I still refused to allow my children around Robert.I remember one night in 2008 during a really rocky time in my marriage, Seth took Piper to a family gathering an hour away. Seth and his mom promised me that Robert would not be present. When I found out through another family member that Robert was in fact at the gathering, I got in my car and drove to the event, barging in and removing Piper from the house. Seth’s aunt (and mom) followed me out to my car telling me how unreasonable I was. I didn’t care – I felt that strongly about protecting my children.

When Seth and I finally separated in 2009, I was insistent that Seth keep the girls away from his brother but on his first night with the girls, he brought them around Robert and they obviously conversed about me. Within an hour, I received the following text message from Robert:“First off, don’t make rules you can’t enforce you stupid cunt. Second, I don’t need anything to do with ur kids….you and Seth have obviously got them pretty fucked up already. Get a life far away from my family you greedy bitch.” 

Self-doubt set in. If I stayed with Seth, I could protect my kids but divorcing him opened the door to things I couldn’t even fathom. One of my biggest concerns was Robert. This was a man who talked about raping and killing women, secretly took photos under women’s skirts in grocery stores and was extremely racist and homophobic. With all of the things I knew about Robert, I was sure that the Family Court System would uphold my wishes and listen to my concerns. I was wrong.

In 2009, I was thankful when the court issued an order that the children could not be around Robert. Seth violated this order multiple times and each time, I called the police. In 2010, a custody evaluation was completed and I listened intently as the evaluator went through her recommendations point by point. I had to leave the room and compose myself when I heard her describe the new order pertaining to Robert. He was now permitted to be around my children on 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas – the family’s favorite holidays. As long as Seth or his mother were around, they could be at Robert’s home. The evaluator told me that I could either sign the parenting plan that she was proposing or I could fight it. If I fought it, I would be charged $3,000 for the evaluation and the court would go with her recommendation anyway. If I agreed with what she wrote, she would type it up and we would go on our merry way — I was backed into a corner. As a single mom who was barely able to buy groceries, I was intimidated by the thought of a $3,000 bill when I didn’t even have $300 to my name. I was intimidated by the reality of the Family Court System and the fact that I didn’t have an attorney. I signed the order sitting in front of me with tears in my eyes.

Seth’s mom, Cleo, had successfully sold the evaluator a rosy story about how Robert was a changed man. She said he had anger issues in the past but he had turned a new leaf – he was now married with a child. The reality was: he BOUGHT a bride on one of his disturbing excursions to Thailand. The evaluator dismissed all of my concerns and placed my children in Robert’s clutches. I was sickened to my core. Within months of the court order going into effect, Seth was already violating it. He took the girls to Robert’s house on January 2nd and claimed that the date was “close enough” to Christmas which was an approved date in the court order. I promptly called the sheriff and got the violation documented.

In 2011, Seth fought the existing order and the judge relented. Now, my daughters could be around Robert ANYTIME as long as Cleo or Seth were present. Not only did Seth have my daughters around Robert, he began residing in his home on his weekend parenting time. The issues began immediately. My daughters came home claiming that Robert had placed a large, blown-up, framed photo of me on his fireplace mantel – my image was taped over with electrical tape. Robert, Seth and their father referred to me as, “T-Rex” which upset my daughters on a regular basis but my biggest fear was not the photo or the names – it was my fear that Seth’s father or his brother would molest my daughters. I remember seeing a photo of Robert holding my youngest daughter in his swimming pool and I felt like vomiting.

For the past three years, my daughters have been safe – the last time they saw Robert, Seth or anyone from their family, they were 6 and 8-years old. The little girl that he was caught abusing is only six-years old. My heart breaks for this child and for her family. They are living my worst nightmare. My heart breaks for my children and for all they’ve been through. This entire week has been a fog and I’ve had to resort to Xanax to carry me through –which I rarely do. This is another example of the Family Court System failing our children – my daughters should have never been allowed in that house. Never.

This is also an example to keep fighting and never lose faith. I never believed that Robert would be caught – his parents are well-known in our community and Robert is a local business owner. His mom works so hard to keep their public image squeaky clean and perfect. They believe themselves to be untouchable and I had begun to believe that also. I believe that everything happens in God’s perfect timing – while I struggle to understand why my children suffered, your children suffer and this poor little girl is suffering, I believe that this man will finally be stopped and unable to hurt any other children. I believe this family will finally be shown for who they really are. I believe that my children will persevere and that your children will also. Never give up and never stop fighting for your babies….you never know what the next chapter holds.

The truth always prevails.

If your children have been around “Robert” (aka Jason Porter), investigators request that you call the police department at (805) 237-6464 or Crime Stoppers at (805) 549-STOP.

###

One Mom’s Battle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children. Please consider a donation to help with our efforts.

History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2011, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother (Tina Swithin) navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth with over 100-chapters in five different countries. In 2014, One Mom’s Battle achieved non-profit status which will allow the group to take their mission to the next level.

Divorcing a Narcissist: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

The Lemonade Power Retreat: October 21-23, 2016.

The Narc Decoder – Book Release

The Narc Decoder – Book Release

by Tina Swithin

Hi everyone!  It’s been quite a while since I’ve checked in.

As I opened the OMB blog to write a post, I had a flood of memories come through. This was the place I came to vent, purge and try to make sense of a world that makes no sense. When I started this blog, I was rock bottom. I was alone, scared and confused. I was someone who hated conflict and because of that, I learned to bend and my boundaries were fluid versus firm. This blog became my strength on so many dark days.

Quick update on my case: it’s been 31 months since we’ve seen Seth aside from a 1-hour visit in 2014 which caused our world to rock a bit. After that visit, the Commissioner stripped Seth of visits completely. He isn’t even allowed to call us. In true sociopath fashion, Seth recently reemerged on Valentine’s Day when he sent a card to his mom and pretended that it came from the girls. Because he used my email address to send the card (silly, silly, little Seth), I promptly filed a police report to document the incident. Now he has set a court date to deal with child support because he was once again fired from his job. I wish I would have never opened a child support case in 2009 because today, that is the tie that binds us. The reality is, I would gladly pay him support each month to go away once and for all!

Since I stopped blogging, I’ve taken my writing energy to paper and made good use of my time. Last year I published my third book, Rebuilding After the Storm and today, my fourth book went live which may be my personal favorite: The Narc Decoder.

Excerpt from The Narc Decoder:

Divorcing a narcissist? You are probably left feeling baffled and shaken by the communication that you receive from the narcissist. In my mid-twenties, I contemplated learning multiple foreign languages. I envisioned dabbling in French to successfully make my way around Paris or Irish Gaelic to explore the rich history of Ireland along with my deep ancestral roots in that country. My day dreams about learning new languages always went hand in hand with the imagery of world travel. The thought of exploring exotic and old world places far away from home intrigued me. My mind summoned several foreign adventures, but never did I think I would need to learn a foreign language to navigate my own life. In 2008, I heard the words, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” (NPD) to describe my then-husband, Seth. It took a couple years for the reality of those three little words to really sink in.

Looking back, the red flags had been waving in the wind since our very first date. Those flags grew taller and more vibrant in color during our marriage. As it turns out, those same red flags that had been lining my path for years were dipped in a highly flammable mixture of kerosene. I realized the danger only when they exploded near the end of my marriage. Like any unexpected explosion, I was unprepared and left nursing deep, emotional, third-degree burns. In my research, I discovered a new language which took quite a bit of studying and insight on NPD to understand. As it turns out, the reason that I was so bewildered by Seth’s communication style was that we were speaking completely different languages. I spoke the English version of “human” while he was speaking the non-human “Narc-ish.”

I am convinced there is a Narc-ish dictionary or manual hidden deep in a dark, musty hole somewhere in a faraway land with step-by-step instructions on how to inflict fear, confusion and despair. From this land, narcissists hail. Their secret language can only be decoded by those who aren’t fooled by the narcissist’s stealth ability to inflict confusion and chaos with it. My computer has a feature that allows me to translate most languages. However, this particular area of my life requires technology that is a bit savvier. Need is the catalyst of industry: and I was in need of a device to decipher Narc-ish. So, I invented one. I call it the “Narc Decoder” and have made life-altering good use of it. The good news is, everyone has access to the Narc Decoder because it is a machine that I am honored to replicate and share with anyone who is forced to communicate with a narcissist. Once you understand how to use the Narc Decoder, your life will change for the better. You will become empowered and will regain your voice. Over time, you will begin to find humor in the communication style that once left you on your knees begging for mercy.

This may very well be my favorite book of all – because it shows you how to take your power back. It teaches you how to see through the lies, projection, attacks and bullshit. Always open to feedback and you can find me on Facebook!

Love, light and lemonade power!  Tina

###

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

The Lemonade Club, Tina Swithin’s private forum is now live! Seeking a place to share, connect and find help during your custody battle with a narcissist?  TLC is the answer and is now accepting applications – the group will be limited to the first 250 approved applicants.

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. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

One Mom’s Battle Updates from Tina Swithin

One Mom’s Battle Updates from Tina Swithin

Thank_You_Beach_620by Tina Swithin

There are so many changes happening with One Mom’s Battle – this particular blog post is bittersweet as it marks the end of a journey that has been full of extreme highs and lows, happiness, sadness and finally, peace. I had no idea that starting this blog in 2011 would alter the course of my life. At the time, I was just one mom. When I started this blog, I felt incredibly alone — the blog became my confidant, my outlet and my dear friend during the darkest period of my life. There were times that I wrote things that I never published – my deepest fears and most personal thoughts were captured both publicly and privately. The One Mom’s Battle movement is gaining momentum and we are headed in a direction that exceeds anything I ever dreamt possible. For that reason, this will be my last personal blog.

One Mom’s Battle (OMB) is no longer about me. This movement is SO much bigger than me- thanks to all of you.

One Mom’s Battle recently turned into a non-profit organization with the potential to change lives, educate the masses and reach those who are feeling desperate and alone. Our main mission and driving force is to educate the Family Court System on Cluster B personality disorders so that no child experiences the heartache and abuse that my daughters endured…and that your children endure. It is my hope that no one ever feels alone in this battle and my heart swells with pride when I see the massive outreach taking place every day on the OMB Facebook page. Our Facebook pages are run by the most dedicated group of volunteers I have ever encountered. It’s a place of community and it’s a place of education.

A few weeks ago, we held our first OMB Board Meeting where I am volunteering as Board President. We’ve divided into a variety of sub-committees and we are going full steam ahead fueled by incredible amounts of passion and purpose. The Board Members are my family – strong, inspirational and driven to fight for Children’s Rights. We have an amazing board, a strong advisory committee and our Executive Director is one of the most inspirational warrior parents that I’ve ever encountered. The OMB Board of Directors is a true Dream Team. We look forward to updating you on “everything OMB” in the coming months.   Cheers to education and making changes – from my coffee cup to yours!

I sit here writing from my favorite little beach-side coffee shop in 88 degree California weather. I love coming here – it’s my secret spot where I rarely run into anyone that I know. I even have a favorite booth in the back corner where I can people-watch and reflect on past, present and future. Today I am reflecting on the many changes in my life over the past year – and the fact that the most prevalent feeling in my life is contentment. I am thankful to the Family Court System for finally “getting it.” I wish this feeling for everyone.

As I mentioned above, this will be my final personal blog. My battle is over. My case was won on the basis of emotional abuse – while this is rare, it gives me hope that others will follow in my footsteps. What is next for me?  As many of you know, I recently took a huge plunge and quit my career in Public Relations to dedicate myself to my new role as a Divorce Coach for survivors of Cluster B relationships and for those enduring high conflict custody battles. In addition, I am writing my third book and plan to facilitate annual retreats (the first one will be held November 6-8, 2015). If you’d like to follow my personal blog and stay informed on retreats or events that I am facilitating and new book releases, please visit me at www.tinaswithin.com and sign up (bottom right) for my monthly e-newsletter. To participate in my November retreat, please email me at tina@onemomsbattle.com.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you for cheering me on during my court battles. Thank you for your emails, text messages and snail mail. Thank you for believing in me when I was living on coffee, not sleeping and buried in piles of court documents. Thank you for sharing your stories and your heart with me over the past four years. Thank you for being a part of my journey.  Thank you!  – In love and deep gratitude, Tina Swithin

###

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

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. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

The Life That Awaits You – With Lundy Bancroft

The Life That Awaits You – With Lundy Bancroft

Lundy and Tina Swithinby Tina Swithin

Today, I am blogging from the friendly skies – on a flight from Connecticut to DC and then on to Phoenix with a final destination of San Luis Obispo, California. While it will be a long day (week!) of travel, it has been worth every moment as I am coming off of one of those “life-changing” experiences that I wish for everyone. I am thankful for today’s travel time and I plan to make the most of it by reflecting on and absorbing how much the past few days has enriched my life.

I grew up without my biological mother in my life. Her brief and sporadic appearances throughout my childhood never left warm and fuzzy feelings but instead left me feeling confused, scared and saddened. Most likely due to my own early experiences, my greatest fear in life was the mere thought of becoming a mother. That all changed (thankfully) at the age of 30 when I discovered that I was pregnant with my first child. For NM1my entire childhood, it was my dad and I. There were many periods of time when others became part of the picture like my early years when my grandmother and Aunt Bev helped to raise me (age 0-2 years) or when my father remarried (age 2- 9) and then the times when his girlfriends lived with us. Aside from the stable role that my Aunt has played in my life since day one, female relationships have not proven to be longstanding sources of strength or guidance for me. In fact, female relationships are something that often feels forced and unnatural to me which may explain why most of my very best friends have always been men.

Several years ago, I read Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” and that book showed me that my relationship with Seth was incredibly abusive despite the fact that my relationship lacked physical abuse which is the standard that society seems to cling to. After reading the book, I felt validated and clear. I felt as though Lundy had secretly crawled into my home, installed a hidden camera and then wrote about my life. I was riveted as Lundy broke down the different personality types of abusive men such as “Mr. Right” and “The Water Torturer.” I remember sending him an email to thank him for his work – I didNM2 not need a reply back…I simply wanted him to know that his words had an impact on my life and my path to healing.

Each year, Lundy holds a retreat and each year since reading his book, I have received notifications of the retreat. A variety of factors have prevented my attendance at the retreats in the past however, this year when the notification came through, I jumped at the opportunity and filled out the application at record speed. Because enrollment for the retreat was limited to 20 people and registration was done by mail, I drove my registration form straight to the post office. Then, I decided to bypass the anxiety that would normally come while waiting to be notified if I was “in” and I bought a plane ticket! Something just felt right about this and I knew that this was the year I needed to be at “The Life That Awaits You” retreat. (Thankfully, the notification came a few weeks later!)

As the calendar pages were flipped and the retreat was fast approaching, I began to panic a bit. I was so far along in my healing – was I going to take a spot that someone else really needed? What if I were the only one who had not endured physical abuse in past relationships? What if I didn’t fit in with the other women? Coming off a recent experience with a female friendship that completely knocked the wind out of me; you could say I was feeling anxious about being at a retreat so far away from home….with a bunch of women. Deep breath. It’s only 2 days I reminded myself repeatedly.

I arrived in Connecticut a day early and a group text message ensued between four of the women who were attending the retreat. After a series of text messages, I could tell that I was going to fit right in with this group. I met up with one of the attendees for a glass of wine the night before the retreat and felt even more at ease. The next day, I made the 90-minute commute to the retreat with four women who will now hold a place in my heart for life…and that was just the beginning of the weekend.

The retreat was held in Plainfield, Massachusetts – a gorgeous, snow-covered area which was quite a ways off the beaten path and the perfect spot for bonds to form and for broken hearts and tattered souls to heal. Everyone was there for the same reason regardless of the form of abuse they endured, duration of abuse or the severity of abuse. Everyone was united by an experience that only someone who has endured abuse can understand – there was power and comfort in knowing that everyone was there for the same reason. Within minutes of entering the retreat, I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I express myself best by using words however; I am left with few words that could properly describe how healing and powerful this retreat was for me…and for the women who surrounded me. There was deep laughter and deep tears – all of the emotions, good and bad were healing in their own right. There were unbreakable bonds formed and lifelong memories made. For me, the realness and rawness of the experience was intense. Everyone showed up and was present in the moment. They were all open and willing. There was no judgment – only love. These women were inspiring regardless of where they were on their journey – from those who were just leaving an abusive relationship to those who had 10 years of healing under their belt. These women came together through unfortunate circumstances and supported each other 100%. They listened. They comforted. They all worked together to heal.

As we pulled away from the retreat and made our way to the airport, I noticed that it was International Women’s Day. I now understand the importance of bonding with incredible women and my life is so much richer for this experience. I came to the retreat to work through some lingering issues from the past and while my goal was accomplished, I left with so much more than I ever imagined. I am forever thankful to Lundy Bancroft for what he has done and what he continues to do in this world. I truly believe that he is an angel among us. While gratitude is a daily practice for me, the gratitude that I feel today is circulating through every cell in my body. Thank you, Lundy…for all you do.

###

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

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. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

 

Peace, Divorce Coaching and OMB Non-Profit Updates

Peace, Divorce Coaching and OMB Non-Profit Updates
Cover

Our new logo (Photo by Sarah Lennox)

by Tina Swithin

My long overdue blog and updates.

Where to even begin?

I have peace.

I feel like peace is something that I’ve yearned for my entire life. It always seemed to be lingering just beyond my reach. I could see it and was able to grab a piece of it once in a while…. but it always seemed to slip from my fingers as soon as I tried to hold on to it. My childhood was enough to make most Child Psychologists cringe and then there was my adult years….a series of horrible relationships and then….Hurricane Seth.

Fast forward to today: I have a husband who loves me – I feel that love….it is more than just empty words. I wake up in the morning and I feel content. I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be. My daughters are happy. They are safe. They also have peace. I even have the white picket fence around my house. I didn’t plan for a white picket fence life….but I am happy to have it. I like the way peace feels in the deepest parts of my soul.

We haven’t heard from Seth since last October when the court ruled that he can no longer have contact with the girls. Seth who? Enough about that guy. We did hear from “that guy’s” mom, Cleo….apparently, she is moving back to the United States after spending about 15 years teaching overseas in Saudi Arabia. She notified the girls that she is moving back via a Christmas card. Joy to the world…not.  I have had a sinking feeling in my stomach. The thought of Grandparent’s Rights has always weighed heavily on my mind however, my mind is at ease after speaking to several attorneys.  Let’s just say that chances of hell freezing over and pigs growing unicorn horns are more concerning than my local court awarding Cleo time with the girls.

My wish for 2015 is that each and every one of you have peace waiting just around the corner. I want to share this feeling with every person who has been bruised, beaten and broken by the Family Court System.

High Conflict Divorce Coach:

Two weeks ago, I took a leap of faith. I quit my super stable career in Public Relations. We all hear the phrase, “Find a job that you love and you will never work a day in your life” but that sounded like pipe dream fluff to me. Now I get it. Six months ago, I launched my new business as a Divorce Coach and I have officially found my calling. Last week, I asked clients for testimonials and the response I received was humbling…and further confirmed that my leap of faith doesn’t require a back-up plan. I am doing exactly what I was called to do.  Here is a quote from one of my regular clients:

“Tina has been an essential part of my journey. There was a time when I was so alone in the custody battle; a time when I felt utterly confused, afraid, and overwhelmed by lawyers, court dates, and a punitive, unreasonable, terrifying ex husband who had this knack of pulling it together in front of other people. I searched for ways to cope, to understand, and to find a way through but was stunned by the lack of resources…until I found Tina. And then everything started to change. Tina’s role as a coach has literally changed my life and the course of my journey through this process. Over the past 8 months, she has helped me strategize, think through complicated legal situations and proposals, set boundaries, draft more effective emails, and better understand both the legal and psychological issues I was facing. She is prepared, focused, and full of insight and ideas. Most importantly, she helped me reconnect with myself and to not let fear take me away from what I knew to be true and right. Our sessions have made me stronger, hopeful, and certainly wiser. I am beyond grateful to Tina. She has been invaluable to me and I can’t imagine going through this without her!”

Yesterday, I was walking on the beach and catching up with an old friend. As I was explaining to her what I was doing, she said, “You are like a doula. A divorce doula!”  — it made me laugh but it is so true. According to DONA International, “Doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning ‘a woman who serves’ and is used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.” I remember hiring a Doula for the birth of my first daughter, Piper, and I was so incredibly thankful I did. She was there for me every step of the way. Being a “divorce doula” is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Please come over and “like” my personal Facebook page where I share inspiration and positive quotes.

One Mom’s Battle- a Non-Profit:

Aside from Divorce Coaching, my free time will be spent volunteering as President of the non-profit organization, “One Mom’s Battle.” We just completed the 501(c)3 paperwork and are well on our way towards tax-exempt status!  Our first board meeting will be held this month. We have such an amazing team lined up….OMB has a new logo which we are so thrilled about (thank you, Larissa!).   As they say, it takes a village!

In other exciting news, a new OMB website is underway thanks to the dedication of the amazing Valerie. SO many positive things happening – we look forward to all that 2015 has to offer! Cheers to providing support for survivors while educating the Family Court System! Cheers to making CHANGES!  I have personally seen it here in my local court system – I look forward to seeing change happen across the world.

###

The Lemonade Club: Currently, The Lemonade Club is not accepting new applicants. The forum is being moved and improved.  For more information and to be added to the waiting list, please email Tina@onemomsbattle.com

Divorce Coaching: Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries, navigate the system and regain your power. Email Tina Swithin for an intake packet: tina@onemomsbattle.com. Follow Tina’s personal Facebook page for daily inspiration.

Books: 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.

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

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: Tina Swithin’s Court Transcripts

Divorcing a Narcissist: Tina Swithin’s Court Transcripts

judge-in-courtby Tina Swithin

October 28, 2014 was one of the best days of my life.  It was the day that we were awarded “peace” after a very long custody battle. I have been anxiously awaiting the transcripts because this 30 minutes of my life was a complete blur. Tonight, I received the transcripts and while they aren’t exact (I remember a direct quote from the Commissioner, “Parents have rights but children also have rights” which didn’t make it into the transcripts).  Other than that, this is pretty much word for word what occurred.

I have changed names to protect identities:

IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA COUNTY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO BEFORE THE HONORABLE JOHN J. OLSON, COMMISSIONER

SETH COLLINS, PETITIONER, VS. TINA SWITHIN, RESPONDENT.

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2014 8:56 A.M. * * *

THE COURT: LET ME CALL CASE FL-09-0000, SETH COLLINS AND TINA SWITHIN. WE ARE HERE ON MR. COLLINS’– I’M SORRY, I GUESS WE ARE HERE ON MS. SWITHIN’S REQUEST FOR ORDERS.

MR. PETERSON: YES.

MR. SLAROMON: VINNIE SLAROMON ON BEHALF OF SETH COLLINS, WHO IS NOT PRESENT.

THE COURT: MS. SWITHIN IS PRESENT. MR. PETERSON IS PRESENT ON BEHALF OF THE CHILDREN. MR. COLLINS DOESN’T VISIT FOR A YEAR AND A HALF, AND NOW HE’S DEMANDING VISITS. IS THAT THE SCENARIO?

MR. SLAROMON: I DON’T THINK THAT’S EXACTLY HOW IT HAPPENED, YOUR HONOR. WHAT I THINK HAPPENED IS THAT HE STARTED HIS VISITS AFTER A LONG ABSENCE, AND IT WAS A SUGGESTION OF MS. SMITH TO INCREASE THE TIME TO TWO HOURS. AND THEN I READ THE RESPONSE AND THE OTHER RESPONSES, AND I’M GUESSING THEY ARE SUGGESTING THAT HE HAVE AN HOUR FIXED, SUPERVISED, AND THAT YOU COULD INCREASE UP TO TWO HOURS BASED ON THE CHILDREN AND HOW THEY ARE DOING IN THE SESSIONS.

THE COURT: WHERE DOES HE LIVE?

MR. SLAROMON: SAN DIEGO.

THE COURT: MR. PETERSON, WHAT’S YOUR POSITION?

MR. PETERSON: WELL, I GOT SOME NEW INFORMATION TODAY. I FILED A RESPONSIVE DECLARATION, AND IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING MR. COLLINS HAS NOT VISITED IN 16 MONTHS. HE HAD SOME LIMITED TELEPHONE CALLS, AND IN HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CHILDREN I THINK THERE IS WHAT WOULD BE CHARACTERIZED AS A GROWING RIFT BASED UPON HIS NON-CONTACT, AND I BELIEVE HE’S HAD TWO VISITS.

MS. SWITHIN: ONE.

MR. PETERSON: ONE VISIT SUPERVISED BY AMBER SMITH. AND IN MY RESPONSIVE DECLARATION WHEN I MADE A PROPOSAL TO THE COURT ABOUT A CAUTIOUS REIMPLEMENTATION OF VISITS, I RECOMMENDED THAT BASED UPON MY DISCUSSIONS WITH MEGAN GOLDEN, WHO IS THE CHILDREN’S THERAPIST, THAT MR. COLLINS MAY CONTACT HER AND MEET WITH HER IN ORDER THAT HE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO UNDERSTAND THE CHILDREN’S DISTRESS AND GAIN SOME INSIGHT INTO MAKING PROGRESS WITH HIS RELATIONSHIP. HE NEVER CONTACTED THE CHILDREN’S THERAPIST. I SPOKE TO THE THERAPIST, AND SHE INDICATED TO ME THAT SHE’S BEEN SEEING THEM ONCE A WEEK FOR ALMOST A YEAR.

THE COURT: CAN YOU REMIND ME HOW OLD ARE THE GIRLS?

MR. PETERSON: PIPER IS NINE AND SARAH IS SEVEN. MS. GOLDEN HAD A 45-MINUTE MEETING WITH EACH CHILD LAST NIGHT, AND SHE SAID THAT SARAH USED THE BATHROOM BEFOREHAND, BUT WHEN THEY STARTED TALKING ABOUT THE VISITS, SHE BECOME ANXIOUS AND DISTRESSED AND TRIED TO MAKE IT TO THE BATHROOM, BUT SHE ENDED UP WETTING HER PANTS ON THE WAY TO THE BATHROOM, AND SARAH EXHIBITED SOME ANXIOUS AND FEARFUL BEHAVIOR AT THE TIME THAT SHE WAS DEPARTING THE BATHROOM. THIS WAS ALL CENTERED AROUND CONVERSATIONS THEY WERE HAVING ABOUT HOW THEY WERE GOING TO IMPLEMENT THIS AND HOW THEY WERE GOING TO SEE THEIR DAD, HOW THEY FELT ABOUT IT, HOW THE TELEPHONE CALLS WERE GOING. I ASKED HER WHAT SHE RECOMMENDED, AND BASED UPON LAST NIGHT SHE THINKS THAT BEFORE ANY EFFORTS ARE MADE TO RESUME THE VISITS BETWEEN THE GIRLS, MR. COLLINS NEEDS TO MEET WITH HER, AND THERE NEEDS TO BE –

THE COURT: MEET WITH HER TO DO WHAT?

MR. PETERSON: SO HE UNDERSTANDS THE NEEDS OF THE CHILDREN.

THE COURT: HE HASN’T UNDERSTOOD THE NEEDS OF THE CHILDREN IN FOUR YEARS.

MR. PETERSON: I AGREE WITH THAT. I THINK THAT’S TRUE. THE FACT IS HE DISAPPEARS FOR 16 MONTHS, AND NOW HIS REAPPEARING IS CAUSING STRESS IN THE CHILDREN’S LIVES THE WAY — I GUESS THE WAY IN WHICH HE’S REENTERING THEIR LIVES. SHE SAID HE SHOULD BE LIMITED TO CALLS AND SENDING THEM LETTERS, AND SHE’S NOT COMFORTABLE TRANSITIONING INTO VISITS, EVEN SUPERVISED, UNTIL THE CHILDREN HAVE A RESUMPTION OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR FATHER. IF YOU READ THE REPLY DECLARATION OF MS. SWITHIN AND LOOK AT THE EMAILS AND TEXTS THAT ARE BACK AND FORTH, I THINK MS. SWITHIN HAS MADE A PRETTY SUBSTANTIAL AND SIGNIFICANT EFFORT TO CONNECT WITH HIM TO TRY AND PERSUADE HIM TO SEE THE KIDS, AND ON MANY OCCASIONS HE DOESN’T RESPOND IN AN APPROPRIATE FASHION AND CONTINUES TO BLAME HER AND MISCHARACTERIZES THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND DOESN’T TAKE ANY RESPONSIBILITY.

THE COURT: I GUESS THAT’S WHY I’M SORT OF WONDERING WHY WE ARE GOING TO FORCE THE KIDS INTO A RELATIONSHIP WITH A GUY WHO HAS DEMONSTRATED REPEATEDLY HE’S NOT CAPABLE OF PUTTING THE KIDS’ INTERESTS AHEAD OF HIS OWN. EVERYTHING IS ON HIS TIMETABLE. HE’S FLAT-OUT LIED TO THE COURT ABOUT VARIOUS FACTS. WE ALL REMEMBER THE HISTORY HERE. HE APPEARS TO BE A SOCIOPATH. WHY ARE WE FORCING THEM? CHILDREN WHO WET THEIR PANTS AT THE MERE DISCUSSION OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SEEING MR. COLLINS, WHY ARE WE FORCING THEM TO DO THAT? IT IS PRETTY DRASTIC TO SAY MAYBE THE KIDS NEVER SEE THIS GUY AGAIN, BUT, YOU KNOW, HE’S THE PERSON WHO CHOSE TO BE GONE FOR THE LAST 16 MONTHS. MAYBE I SHOULD ASK MR. SLAROMON.

MR. SLAROMON: I JUST THINK IN EVERY FAMILY LAW SITUATION THERE ARE FATHERS AND MOTHERS THAT HAVE PROBLEMS MUCH WORSE THAN WHAT MR. COLLINS DOES, AND HIS HAVE BEEN CHARACTERIZED AS JUST A LOT OF, AS THE COURT POINTED OUT, ACTIONS THAT WERE UNACCEPTABLE. THAT’S WHY HE’S IN THE POSITION HE’S IN.

THE COURT: NOT REALLY. HE’S IN THE POSITION HE’S IN BECAUSE HE DID A LOT OF THINGS THAT ENDED UP WITH HIM BEING LIMITED TO SUPERVISED VISITS. BUT HE’S THE PERSON WHOSE CHOSE NOT TO SEE HIS KIDS FOR 16 MONTHS.

MR. SLAROMON: THAT’S WHY HE ASKED ME TO COME AND WHY WE FILED THE RESPONSE, BECAUSE HE JUST WANTED SOME OPPORTUNITY TO BE ABLE TO REUNIFY WITH THEM UNDER SOME STRUCTURE. AND I THINK TERMINATING HIS PARENTAL VISITATION ISN’T APPROPRIATE IF WE CAN COME UP WITH A WAY WE CAN GRADUALLY GET BACK INTO THE KIDS’ LIVES. THAT’S OUR GOAL.

THE COURT: HOW DO YOU PROPOSE DOING THAT?

MR. SLAROMON: WELL, I THOUGHT THAT STARTING WITH SUPERVISED VISITATION AND SEEING HOW IT GOES WOULD BE A GOOD FIRST STEP, INTERTWINED WITH THE THERAPEUTIC APPROACH THAT MR. PETERSON WAS SAYING. I THINK MR. COLLINS DOES NEED TO ENGAGE SLOWLY AND SHOW GOOD CONDUCT OVER A PERIOD OF TIME AND MAYBE SET A REVIEW HEARING 7AND HAVE THEM HAVE, YOU KNOW, ONE VISIT EVERY WEEK FOR AN HOUR, AND LET’S SEE HOW HE DOES. AND I UNDERSTAND THAT THE KIDS — ACCORDING TO MS. SMITH SHE SAID THAT THE KIDS SAID THAT THEY WANT TO SEE HIM AND THAT SHE THINKS IT WOULD BE GOOD FOR THEM, SO MAYBE WE SHOULD HAVE HER COME IN AND TALK ABOUT, YOU KNOW –

THE COURT: WHAT’S THEIR OWN THERAPIST’S OPINION ABOUT THE KIDS SEEING HIM? THE KIDS SEE THEIR OWN THERAPIST, AND MS. SMITH IS THE SUPERVISION THERAPIST.

MS. SLAROMON: YES, SHE’S THE SUPERVISOR THERAPIST.

MR. PETERSON: SHE’S ONLY MET WITH THEM FOR ONE HOUR, AND THAT’S IN 16 MONTHS.

THE COURT: WHAT DO YOU THINK OUGHT TO HAPPEN?

MS. SWITHIN: THE PAST 15 MONTHS HAVE BEEN THE MOST PEACEFUL FOR MY CHILDREN. THEY HAVE RETURNED TO HAVING A CHILDHOOD WITH ZERO STRESS. THEY ARE 100 PERCENT THRIVING IN EVERY ASPECT OF THEIR LIVES. MR. COLLINS’S PHONE CALLS TO THEM INVOLVE INSTRUCTING ME THAT I NEED TO TALK TO THEM ABOUT CHILD SUPPORT AND HOW HE HAS PUT A ROOF OVER THEIR HEAD – THE CALLS ARE INAPPROPRIATE. IN SOME OF HIS PHONE CALLS TO THEM, HE’S CLEARLY INTOXICATED, CALLING FROM BARS, AND THE GIRLS HAVE REFUSED TO TALK TO HIM SINCE APRIL BECAUSE OF HOW BIZARRE HIS PHONE CALLS ARE. THEY ARE IN CONTROL OF THEIR PHONE AT ALL TIMES. IN THE ONE SINGLE HOUR THAT HE HAS COME BACK INTO THEIR LIVES – HE HAS TURNED OUR WORLD UPDSIDE DOWN. MY OLDEST DAUGHTER, WHO HAS A NEAR PERFECT ATTENDANCE RECORD THROUGH FOURTH GRADE, HAS MISSED SCHOOL DUE TO ANXIETY SURROUNDING THE VISITS. MY YOUNGEST DAUGHTER HAS NOW STARTED WETTING HER PANTS AGAIN AT 7 1/2 YEARS OLD AFTER NOT HAVING A SINGLE ACCIDENT FOR 15 MONTHS. DURING HIS ONE-HOUR VISIT HE BROUGHT IN A LAPTOP COMPUTER AND GRILLED THEM ON QUESTIONS THAT WERE INAPPROPRIATE. HE TOLD THEM THAT THE LACK OF VISITS WERE NOT HIS FAULT. MS. SMITH HAD TO STOP HIM AND TELL HIM THAT THE TOPIC WAS INAPPROPRIATE. THIS MAY BE HEARSAY, BUT MR. PETERSON CAN PROBABLY VERIFY IT. THIS HAS BEEN TRAUMATIZING FOR THEM. JUST ONE HOUR AND MY DAUGHTER’S NIGHTMARES HAVE RESTARTED. WE ARE BACK WHERE WE WERE 15 MONTHS AGO, AND I DON’T THINK HIS PRESENCE IN THEIR LIFE IS HELPING THEM AT ALL -OR IS IN THEIR BEST INTEREST. AND WITH THE RECENT POLICE REPORT THAT I INCLUDED IN MY DECLARATION- MR. COLLINS ATTACKED HIS FIFTH VICTIM AND THAT INCIDENT OCCURED DURING THE TIME OF THE 3111 EVALUATION WHEN MR. COLLINS WOULD SEEM TO BE ON HIS BEST BEHAVIOR. BUT I AGREE WITH YOU THAT HIS TENDENCIES LEAN TOWARDS THAT OF A SOCIOPATH. HE TERRIFIES ME AND HE TERRIFIES THE CHILDREN. I WOULD ASK THAT THE COURT COMPLETELY REMOVE HIS VISITS. I DON’T THINK VISITS ARE IN THEIR BEST INTEREST.

THE COURT: MR. PETERSON, ANYTHING ELSE?

MR. PETERSON: JUST — NO. I THINK TALK IS CHEAP, BUT I THINK CONDUCT SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS. MR. COLLINS’S CONDUCT DEMONSTRATES THAT IT IS ALL ABOUT HIM, AND HE DOESN’T APPRECIATE THE NEEDS OF THE CHILDREN, AND FOR HIM TO, I GUESS, REENTER THE CHILDREN’S LIVES IN THE MANNER IN WHICH HE HAS CAUSES MORE DISRUPTION. CERTAINLY I ENCOURAGE AND ADVOCATE THAT CHILDREN NEED BOTH PARENTS, BUT THAT BEING SAID, I THINK THAT BOTH PARENTS HAVE TO HAVE AN APPROPRIATE ROLE IN THE CHILDREN’S LIVES, AND STEPPING OUT FOR 16 MONTHS AND THEN REAPPEARING -AND I DO CORROBORATE THAT I SPOKE TO AMBER SMITH, AND HE STARTED OUT HIS VISIT BY ATTEMPTING TO SAY THAT NONE OF THIS WAS ALL HIS FAULT, AND IF IT’S NOT HIS FAULT, WHY HASN’T HE BEEN VISITING, AND I KNOW THAT’S NOT TRUE, FOR ONE, AND I THINK IT MISLEADS THE CHILDREN AND CAUSES THE CHILDREN MORE DISTRESS RATHER THAN FOCUSING ON HAVING A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CHILDREN. WHAT I TOLD THE COURT IS WHAT MS. GOLDEN RECOMMENDS, AND WHATEVER THE PARENTING PLAN OR PROPOSAL THE COURT PROPOSES OR ORDERS, I THINK IT OUGHT TO BE VERY SLOW, AND I THINK IT OUGHT TO BE AIMED AT PROTECTING THE CHILDREN FROM MR. COLLINS’S UNSTABLE BEHAVIOR. I GUESS I’M CONCERNED — ALSO I TRIED TO CALL (GAZELLE #3). HER PHONE NUMBER IS IN THE POLICE REPORT. I THINK IT IS OUT OF THE EAST COAST. I TRIED TO IDENTIFY MYSELF, AND I CALLED HER A COUPLE TIMES AND TRIED TO GET A CALL BACK SO I COULD CORROBORATE WHAT’S WRITTEN IN THE POLICE REPORT. I FIND ALARMING WHAT IS IN THAT POLICE REPORT. THERE’S BEEN SIMILAR BEHAVIOR WITH OTHER WOMEN THAT’S BEEN REPORTED THROUGHOUT THIS CASE OVER ABOUT FIVE YEARS, AND IT IS JUST ODD THAT THIS HAS HAPPENED ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS WITH MR. COLLINS, AND I THINK HE HAS SOME SORT OF PROBLEM.

THE COURT: I DON’T THINK ITS ODD. I THINK YOU COULD GO WANDER AROUND TO ANY CRIMINAL DEPARTMENT IN THIS BUILDING AND SEE SIMILAR KINDS OF PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR.

MR. PETERSON: THE OTHER ISSUE IS HE’S WRITTEN TO THE MOTHER AND REALLY MINIMIZED HIS USE OF ALCOHOL, HE NEVER ABUSED ALCOHOL. EVERYTHING THAT HE SAYS HE MINIMIZES IT AND SAYS THAT HE NEVER USES ALCOHOL IN ANY DIFFERENT PATTERN THAN ANY PROFESSIONAL OR PARENT. I JUST DON’T THINK THE RECORD SUPPORTS THAT. I THINK WITH HIS CRIMINAL CASES AGAINST HIM AND HIS ALCOHOL-RELATED OFFENSES IT’S JUST ALL AROUND A BAD CIRCUMSTANCE.

THE COURT: OKAY. SO I’M GOING TO GIVE MR. SLAROMON THE LAST WORD, BUT BEFORE I GET TO HIM, THE DILEMMA FOR THE COURT IS ON THE ONE HAND THERE’S A POLICY THAT KIDS NEED BOTH PARENTS. ON THE OTHER HAND THERE ARE CERTAIN PARENTS WHO DON’T BELONG AROUND THEIR CHILDREN. WHERE IS HE?

MR. PETERSON: WELL, I THINK THE COURT’S GOT TO BALANCE COMPETING INTERESTS.

THE COURT: ACTUALLY, RATHER THAN PHRASING IT AS “WHERE IS HE,” WHERE DO THESE KIDS BELONG?

MR. PETERSON: I THINK THE COURT’S GOT TO BALANCE THE KIDS’ STABILITY AGAINST ANY FURTHER INSTABILITY OR HARM THAT THERE IS BY THE CIRCUMSTANCE OF CONTINUING WHAT’S CURRENTLY GOING ON. I MEAN, HAS HE INFLICTED PHYSICAL FORCE ON THE CHILDREN? NOT RECENTLY.

THE COURT: BUT THAT’S NOT THE BE-ALL AND END-ALL.

MR. PETERSON: I UNDERSTAND THAT. THESE CHILDREN ARE EXPERIENCING EMOTIONAL DISTRESS AS A RESULT OF WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE LAST TWO OR THREE MONTHS, AND I THINK THE COURT OUGHT TO RESTRICT HIS CONTACT WITH THE CHILDREN UNTIL HE IS ABLE TO DEMONSTRATE –

THE COURT: I GUESS THAT’S MY QUESTION BECAUSE TO DATE HE HAS CHECKED OUT. HE HAS REALLY PUT HIS KIDS IN A HORRIBLE POSITION. I THINK PROBABLY MR. SLAROMON MIGHT AGREE WITH THAT. THE QUESTION REALLY IS, WELL — AND BASED ON ALL OF THAT, I’M NOT CONVINCED HE SHOULD BE SEEING HIS KIDS EVEN ONE HOUR SUPERVISED AT THIS POINT. WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO DO TO DEMONSTRATE THAT HE’S NOT A DANGER NOW TO HIS KIDS? AND NOW IT IS GOING TO BE VERY DIFFICULT FOR HIM BECAUSE I’VE CONCLUDED HE’S A LIAR. I DON’T BELIEVE WHAT HE SAYS. IT HAS GONE ON FOR YEARS. HE’S GOT THIS ISSUE WITH HIS VARIOUS GIRLFRIENDS, ALL OF WHOM SEEM TO END UP IN SOME SORT OF POLICE CONTACT. HE HAS FABRICATED CLAIMS ABOUT GETTING BEAT UP IN SAN FRANCISCO WHEN ACTUALLY HE PUT HIS CAR INTO A LIGHT POLE ON THE EMBARCADERO. WHAT COULD HE DO TO CONVINCE YOU OR CONVINCE ME HE IS NOT JUST A SOCIOPATH AND SHOULDN’T BE AROUND HIS KIDS? IS THERE ANYTHING HE COULD DO?

MR. PETERSON: NOT MUCH. THE ONLY SUGGESTION THAT I KNOW OF IS TO START OFF WITH A SERIES OF LETTERS AND HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE CONTACT WITH THEM THAT WAY, BUT MY THINKING IS IF THE COURT MAKES AN ORDER LIKE THAT, HE WON’T FOLLOW IT AND CHECK OUT. IT IS A VERY, VERY TOUGH ISSUE. I THINK HE’S RECEIVED PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES FROM THIS COURT, PROBABLY SIX OR SEVEN OPPORTUNITIES TO HAVE A NORMAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS CHILDREN, AND HE’S REJECTED THEM OR ACTED IN A FASHION THAT IS INCONSISTENT WITH APPROPRIATE PARENTING DECISIONS.

MS. SWITHIN: IN REGARDS TO THE LETTERS, I WANT THE COURT TO KNOW THAT I WOULD ONLY FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH THOSE GOING THROUGH THE CHILDREN’S THERAPIST BECAUSE HIS PHONE CALLS ARE COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE. MY HUSBAND CAN ATTEST TO THAT. HE’S IN THE COURTROOM NOW. HE HAS HEARD THEM ON SPEAKER PHONE. I DON’T TRUST ANYTHING THAT HE WOULD PUT IN WRITING WOULDN’T FURTHER DAMAGE THE GIRLS.

THE COURT: MR. SLAROMON?

MR. SLAROMON: I’M HEARING A LOT OF THE THINGS WE HAVE HEARD OVER AND OVER AGAIN THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THE CASE, AND THE CONFLICT IS RESULTANT. MR. COLLINS SEEMS TO DO THE OBVIOUS THINGS WRONG, BUT I THINK A LOT OF THE EARLY CONFLICT COMES FROM THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MS. SWITHIN AND MR. COLLINS. I HAVE HEARD LOTS OF COMPLAINTS ABOUT HER USING HER DIVORCE AS FODDER FOR HER PROFESSION AND A BOOK. NOW SHE’S WRITTEN A SECOND BOOK. SHE’S VERY INTO PUBLICIZING THIS.

THE COURT: I HAVEN’T READ HER BOOK. I KNOW SHE HAS ONE. I KNOW SHE HAS A BOOK. I DON’T HAVE ANY INTEREST IN READING IT, BUT MR. COLLINS PROVIDES A LOT OF MATERIAL.

MS. SLAROMON: I JUST THINK THAT IF WE CLOSE THE DOOR TO IT, THERE’S NO OPPORTUNITY. IF WE GIVE HIM SOME OPPORTUNITY BUT LETTER WRITING IS THE THING THAT YOU THINK IS THE BEST SOLUTION, I DON’T NECESSARILY THINK THAT’S THE BEST SOLUTION. I THINK HE NEEDS TO HAVE SOME CONTACT WITH THE THERAPIST THAT ALSO SEES THE KIDS, AND MAYBE HE COULD HAVE HIS OPEN SEPARATE THERAPY FOR X-AMOUNT OF SESSIONS, MAKE HIM DO SOME REAL ENGAGING THERAPY WITH THEIR THERAPIST FOR SOME WAY THAT SHE CAN MONITOR WHAT HE’S SAYING AND WHAT HE’S DOING, AND THEN COME BACK IN THREE MONTHS AND HAVE THE THERAPIST SAY “HE’S A SOCIOPATH” OR “HE’S NOT A SOCIOPATH, HE WANTS TO, HE CAN, I BELIEVE HE SHOULD.” HE HAS DEFINITELY CHOSEN OVER THE LAST 15 MONTHS TO OSTRICH IT, STICK HIS HEAD IN THE SAND AND NOT DO THE VISITATIONS BECAUSE HE WAS ORDERED SUPERVISED. I TOLD HIM MYSELF TO DO HIS VISITS, DO THEM FROM THE BEGINNING AND DO THEM GOOD, AND HE DIDN’T. I ASKED HIM TO DO THAT. I MEAN, I THINK THAT I JUST WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE COURT TRY TO FASHION A PLAN THAT CAN GIVE HIM A WINDOW, AN OPPORTUNITY THAT CAN EITHER CLOSE AGAIN AND FAIL OR SUCCEED, WHICH MIGHT BE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE KIDS IN THE FUTURE.

THE COURT: ALL VISITATION BETWEEN MR. COLLINS AND THE CHILDREN IS SUSPENDED. MR. COLLINS MAY COMMUNICATE WITH THE CHILDREN IN WRITING THROUGH MEGAN GOLDEN. ALL TELEPHONE CONTACT BETWEEN MR. COLLINS AND THE CHILDREN IS TERMINATED AT THIS TIME. IF MS. SWITHIN DOES RECEIVE ANY TELEPHONE CALLS TO THE CHILDREN DESPITE THIS ORDER, WHICH WOULDN’T SURPRISE ME, SHE CAN RECORD THEM. ARE THERE ANY OTHER ORDERS YOU THINK WE NEED?

MR. PETERSON: NO.

THE COURT: OKAY.

MR. PETERSON WILL PREPARE THE ORDER.

MR. SLAROMON: THANK YOU.

MS. SWITHIN: THANK YOU, YOUR HONOR.

THE COURT: THANK YOU.

(AT 9:18 A.M. PROCEEDINING WERE CONCLUDED.) * * *

###

“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 more information, please email Tina@onemomsbattle.com

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries, navigate the system and regain your power. Contact Tina Swithin at Tina Swithin, LLC

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.