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: Advice from the Battlefield

Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield

Front Cover PDFby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Divorcing a Narcissist: A Blessed Life

Divorcing a Narcissist: A Blessed Life

Oh-So-Gratefulby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am blessed and I am thankful.

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

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“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: Phone Calls from Seth

Divorcing a Narcissist: Phone Calls from Seth

Bizarro_Logoby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

“Where?” Piper asks him.

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

“What kind?”  Piper asks him

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

The girls both stare at the phone confused.

“That’s what we have” says Piper

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

“Yes” the girls respond.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: Be Your Own Valentine

Divorcing a Narcissist: Be Your Own Valentine

to meby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be YOUR Valentine.

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

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

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

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: Authentic Friendships

Divorcing a Narcissist: Authentic Friendships

Friendshipby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

I broke up with my best friend.

It hurt. A lot.

I cried. A lot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Divorcing a Narcissist: Reflections of 2013

Divorcing a Narcissist: Reflections of 2013

newyearby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holiday Reminder: Finding Peace and Joy in the Little Things

Holiday Reminder: Finding Peace and Joy in the Little Things

ornamentsI know that a lot of you are really struggling right now.

Dealing with NPD individuals and the holiday season combined can be horrible. I am not going to try to sugar coat it.

It sucks.

For some reason, the holidays seem to bring out the “best” in the narcissist. It seems like they escalate like the Grinch on steroids. Court filings seem to increase along with the dreaded emails which call for the Narc Decoder. Most holiday emails, when processed through my Narc Decoder will read something like this:

I envy that you can feel joy. I hate when people feel joy because it is a feeling that I will never know.  Because the theme of the season is ‘Peace and Joy,’ I am going to strike hard and ensure that you feel as cold, dark and empty as I feel. You are not allowed to experience happiness unless I have approved it and we all know that will never happen.

You have two choices:

You can accept the wrath of the narcissist and cave into his demands to rid yourself of holiday joy OR you can say a few simple but powerful words: “I control my happiness.

This may be an extra difficult holiday season for you. You could be in the beginning throes of this battle. You may be facing a court date just days before or after Christmas or you could be feeling beat down by the insanity of this nightmare. You may be facing the sad reality that you can’t provide gifts for your children in a way that you would like to—or maybe you can’t provide anything at all.

I want to share my Christmas from just a few years ago to give you hope.

In late fall of 2009, I spent several days in a women’s shelter which were the darkest days of my life. I honestly did not know that I could cry that hard- deep, soul rocking cries. I was empty and desperate for anyone to believe that this charming man was capable of killing me yet no one believed me. He had never physically harmed me nor had he come right out and threatened me. It was the look of rage in his eyes that said it all. It was the stalking behavior. I was rock bottom emotionally.

By the end of October of 2009, I was able to get my first apartment with the girls. I was depressed about the fact that we were going to reside in a low-income, shoe-box size apartment but I put a smile on my face for the girls. As the holidays approached, I grew more depressed about my situation. Just 11 months prior, I had celebrated Christmas in grand style. I lived in a 4,300 square foot home and had purchased the girls a dollhouse so large that they could not SEE the top floor. It was magnificent and over the top. We had so many gifts that we actually had to break Christmas up into TWO shifts. We opened gifts all morning and then ate lunch, napped and then did a second present-opening session.  2008 was over the top and 2009 was slated to be racked with mom guilt like I had never known before.

December of 2009 came and I was unable to afford a Christmas tree. Besides the money issue, I had no place for a tree in my shoe-box home. I found a small, pink Christmas tree in a box that had previously been a mere holiday ornament in the playroom of my mini-mansion. The few ornaments that I had taken with me were almost bigger that the tree itself. I had an idea- I pulled clay out of our craft box and the girls and I turned it into a fun experience- we made thumb sized ornaments (see picture above) for our little magical pink tree using clay!  The ornaments will always hold a special place in my heart because they hold such meaning. They signify where we were and where we are now. While I remember that I couldn’t afford a kitchen table, gifts or a Christmas tree, and the girls remember the fun of making the ornaments together on our kitchen floor!

That Christmas, I turned to my church for assistance in buying a few gifts for the girls and my family also helped to supplement what I was unable to do. As a mother, that was a very difficult year for me not only because of severe money issues but because I didn’t understand NPD and I was still allowing Seth to take my joy and peace away.

In December that year, I found inspiration and a LOT of tears in a song by Carrie Underwood called, “Temporary Home.” Here are the lyrics that carried me through that season:

Young mom, on her own
She needs a little help, got nowhere to go
She’s looking for a job, looking for a way out
‘Cause a halfway house will never be a home
At night she whispers to her baby girl
“Someday we’ll find our place here in this world”

This is our temporary home, it’s not where we belong
Windows and rooms that we’re passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where we’re going
I’m not afraid because I know
This is our temporary home

(To watch the video, click here.)

That song reminded me that the feelings and the apartment weren’t forever. They were temporary. Looking back, it is hard to believe that it was only four years ago. My church, my friends and my family carried me through that season and this season, I am in a place to give back to others who are in their “temporary home” – that is a feeling that is indescribable. To be honest, that Christmas also taught me that my 2008 Christmas was filled with “things” but not the things that were important. I will never again let my joy be based on “things.”

No matter what stage you are in this holiday season, please know that it is temporary and you will get through it. There is light on the other end of the tunnel.  I’m sending you joy, peace and huge hugs this holiday season.

Love, 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: The Phone Calls

Divorcing a Narcissist: The Phone Calls

step dadby Tina Swithin

It’s been over four months since we’ve seen Seth yet he continues to call every Wednesday night.

He often says things like, “I’m at Barnes and Noble and I’m going to buy you some books.” or, “I really miss you- I wish there was a way that I could see you.” or better yet, when Piper told him that she was going to start taking horse back riding lessons, he replied by saying, “I don’t know how I feel about that. It’s really dirty and muddy.”

My two cents:

  • You haven’t bothered to see your daughters in 4.5 months yet we are suppose to confer with you about how you FEEL about dirt and mud?
  • You COULD figure out a way to see your children. You are CHOOSING not too because your ego is bigger than your love for your daughters.

Today was a great reminder that my daughters will be okay. Better than that, they are thriving.  Today was Glenn’s birthday and Piper came into our bedroom this morning with a hand made card. The card said,

Dear Glenn- You are the best step-dad & dad ever! You are all of our dreams come true. You are the perfect Glenn. -Piper

Despite the damage that Seth can do in one phone call, Glenn and his relationship with the girls gives me hope that our story has a happy ending.

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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: Seth’s Parents

Divorcing a Narcissist: Seth’s Parents

me-me-meCleo and Leonard.  Seth’s parents.

I could write an entire book on these people however, they aren’t worth my time or mental energy.

Prior to Cleo leaving the country (she works overseas and is home for the summer and holiday season), she had promised to mail the girls a few belongings that were left behind. She recently emailed me about wanting to Skype with the girls and I mentioned that we never received the package that Leonard supposedly mailed.

Insert foot here.

Kicking myself for engaging.

Leonard then emailed me offering to meet Glenn and I in a park or public setting to return additional items (clothing, etc). In his dramatic, narcissistic fashion, he said something along the lines of, “It would be nice if you brought the girls so I, as their grandfather, could wish them a final farewell.

I didn’t respond to his bizarre request but addressed it with Piper’s therapist last week. Her exact words, “Is he DYING?!”  She was as confused as I was. Obviously, this meeting is NOT happening. This would be confusing and damaging to the girls and obviously, not in their best interest. As the king narcissist in the family, it would feed HIS needs and it would give him a victim story to tell.

Not happening.

In my email to Cleo, I asked her if Seth planned to see the girls again. It’s now been four months and it is confusing to the girls. They know that there are visits available 4-5 times per month yet dad is not exercising the visits. Cleo’s response was something along these lines, “I will ask him again however, I know how hard the last supervised visits were for both Seth and the girls.”

No, Cleo. Wrong.

The visits were NOT hard on the girls. In fact, the girls preferred to see their dad when they felt safe. They looked forward to supervised visits- it was only two hours at a time and their dad couldn’t HURT them but they still got to see him…in a safe environment.

My response: ”Cleo- I agree that the visits are difficult for Seth however, the previous set of supervised visits were not hard on the girls at all. They got to see their father and they felt safe. If he is choosing not to exercise future visits, I would like to know so that it can be addressed with their  therapist. If that is the case, I find it to be very selfish on his part.”

Selfish? A narcissist? Say it isn’t so?

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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 at The Lemonade Club!

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 Word from Mr. One Mom’s Battle

A Word from Mr. One Mom’s Battle

3.1Note from Tina: I am often asked, “How on Earth did you ever start dating again after your experience?” When I met Glenn, my husband and true knight in shining armor, I wasn’t looking for a relationship. My divorce with Seth had not yet hit the battlefield and I had no idea how bad things were about to get. Through my divorce, Glenn has been my best friend and my rock. Tonight, Glenn surprised me with a blog and I’m honored to share it with you.  Love, Tina

by Mr. OMB

Over the past few years, I have walked with Tina during her journey and the development of One Mom’s Battle. Let me start by saying that every word she has written is true. Her memory is razor sharp and her organizational skills would put a law library to shame. The impact she is having on the world is no surprise to those who know her, it’s just something Tinas do.

So, why am I writing? Simple. Because you asked. Since the beginning of OMB, Tina has received a lot of questions from members about me. Who is he? How did you meet? How does he feel about this, that and the other. How does he cope? While I am generally reserved, I think it is time to share some of my perspectives, and answer some of the questions. I hope you enjoy this first installment. Please stay tuned for more.

Tina and I had been dating for a few months when I bought a new car. It had a few bells and whistles and buttons on it including lights in the speakers that pulsed with the music. As we headed out to dinner, she was checking out the interior. She reached out to touch a shiny black disk on the dash and asked, “What’s that?” It was a bracket for the GPS. I, being a smart ass, said with a concerned tone, “Don’t touch that!”  It was a moment I won’t forget. She jerked her hand back, there was fear in her eyes and she began to shake and tear up.

Honestly, this wasn’t the first time my sense of humor had an unintended effect on someone. It was a long time ago, I was a 22-year-old Park Ranger on Lake Powell. My partner Kerry was flying in on the park plane and I had to pick him up at the small, remote airstrip. I was on duty and driving a patrol unit with lights, siren and a PA system. I had a new toy, it was a stress buster box that had buttons on it that when pushed made sounds like a ray gun, grenade launcher or machine gun. As Kerry exited the plane and walked toward the car, I keyed the PA and pressed the button on the box labeled “machine gun”.  His reaction was expected; he jumped, called me a few bad words and threatened revenge.  Unfortunately, the other person getting off the plane was lying prone on the pavement. He was a Vietnam veteran with PTSD.

When I hear stories from the front lines of OMB, I often associate images of people lying on the pavement, frozen in fear from the loud noises; running in full linear panic nearing exhaustion; surrendering; or, recoiling their hand in shock from the playful antics of a friend.

Fortunately, I know that if I am hearing their story, they have connected with this community. In it they will find, as Tina did, that they are not alone. That loud noises can be cheers of encouragement. That running can be just for exercise (highly recommended for coping with stress). That the white flag of surrender is really the checkered flag for the finish line, all they need to do is fill in the boxes. And, that the black button on the dash does not work the ejector seat unless the person sitting next to you is a Narcissist.

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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 at The Lemonade Club!

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.