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: Finding the Right Attorney

Divorcing a Narcissist: Finding the Right Attorney

AttorneyTaken from Tina’s book, “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield

Finding an attorney

“Why can’t you both just get along for the sake of the children?” Those words are like nails on a chalkboard to anyone who is divorcing someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). While divorce can bring out the worst in a healthy person, a divorce involving someone with NPD is like inviting the devil himself onto the battlefield. The narcissist appears to be charming, charismatic and endearing to those whom he encounters during the legal process, yet outside of the courtroom, he is calculated, manipulative and many times, downright dangerous. The untrained observer may perceive the situation to be about two immature parents who are not capable of putting their children first.

Sadly, many of the untrained observers are the very people who work in the court system such as Judges, commissioners and attorneys. A narcissist is like the modern-day version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I once tried to explain to the Judge in my own divorce case that I didn’t know the man sitting 5 feet to my right. The man sitting next to me in the courtroom was not the same man whom I was attempting to co-parent with. This man claimed to love his children and stated that he wanted to spend time with them however, his actions did not match his words.

Because most courtrooms filter people in and out like cattle, it is imperative that you have an attorney who understands Narcissistic Personality Disorder and will work diligently to protect you and your children in a variety of ways. Having an attorney who understands NPD will ensure a strong parenting plan and court orders with zero room for manipulation or wiggle room. Dealing with an attorney who isn’t educated on personality disorders is an extra battle that you will not have the energy to fight. High conflict divorces are difficult enough without the added task of educating your attorney.

While I represented myself in my divorce from 2009 through 2013, I interviewed many attorneys with hopes of finding someone to take my case pro bono. One of the first things that I quickly discovered is that pro bono work is simply unheard of in family law and you have better odds of finding a needle in a haystack. Attorneys know that divorce cases, and especially high conflict divorces, can drag out for years and result in monthly, or weekly, court dates.

I met an attorney named Mr. Morrow in 2010 who really seemed to “get it” but unfortunately, it was before I understood or had a label for what was happening to me. While my therapist had labeled Seth a narcissist, I didn’t know that my divorce was a cookie-cutter example taken straight out of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder playbook. When I met with Mr. Morrow, I was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and found myself unable to articulate what was happening. It was emotionally exhausting and, honestly, it was embarrassing to admit that these things were happening to me. I worried that he would think I was as crazy as Seth.

While Mr. Morrow and his wife, who was his paralegal, seemed to believe in me and wanted to help me, they simply couldn’t get sucked into the drama of my case. After our first meeting, Mr. Morrow agreed to assist me with my legal paperwork and he offered to meet with me to prepare for each court date. As promised, Mr. Morrow and his wife guided me through the forms and helped me to navigate the Family Court System. Within weeks of discovering that I had a legal team guiding me, Seth began to harass Mr. Morrow’s office to warn him that I would try to sleep with him along with other various and sundry narcissistic ramblings. I was humiliated as Mr. Morrow and his wife had begun to feel like parental figures to me. I felt like Seth was tainting the goodness of these human angels who had tirelessly helped me. Out of embarrassment, I put my tail between my legs and stopped contacting Mr. Morrow’s office as I wanted to protect them from the twilight zone that had become my life.

After that experience, I stopped trying to find an attorney and devoted my time to learning the system and the court requirements. I read everything that I could get my hands on and connected with other single mothers who were fighting similar battles. Going into court in pro se was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, but even more so during the times that Seth hired counsel to represent him. He would retain an attorney when he was facing serious issues or consequences; however, he was usually dropped by the attorney within months of hiring them. Some attorneys dropped Seth because of failure to pay his legal bills and others, I assume, dropped him because he refuses to follow orders.

In my personal opinion, and based on many articles that I have read, attorneys have a very high rate of Narcissistic Personality Disorder which is why I believe that they have such a difficult time recognizing narcissism in the court room. Attorneys with high levels of narcissism have a hard time seeing the behavior as problematic when the issues so closely represent who they are as people. This is not to say that all attorneys are narcissistic by any means. Along this journey, I have made friends with several attorneys who are bright, shining lights in the Family Court System and they give me hope that there are changes on the horizon.

If I were interviewing a prospective attorney, I would be very straightforward and direct. I would ask them to describe their personal experience working with individuals who either suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder or with individuals who have high narcissistic traits. That question offers a lead-in and one can quickly gauge whether or not the attorney knows enough to properly represent you. I would ask for examples of situations or cases that fall into the high conflict category and specifically, how these were handled. Any attorney who seems annoyed or put off by your questions is not the attorney that you want on your side.

Advice from the Battlefield:

1. Ask the prospective attorney the following questions:

  • Define a “High Conflict” divorce.
  • Have you discovered a link between the HCD (High Conflict Divorce) and personality disorders?
  • Have you ever won a case arguing “Emotional/Psychological Abuse”?
  • Define Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
  • Do you work closely with psychologists/therapists and/or evaluators who are experienced in NPD?

2. The biggest issue is finding out which attorneys you should interview, but once you are at that point ask, “What are your views about high conflict divorces?” Listen to how they respond and if they assume the conflict is shared, ask, “Under what circumstances are both parties not equally responsible for a high conflict divorce?” At this point you should know whether it is worth sticking around for more questions. My next one: “How are you able to help the Judge realize that psychopathology and intentional behavior in one party can be solely responsible for maintaining high conflict divorce?”

3. Ask around first, and use word of mouth recommendations. I was lucky as I used the law firm I used to work for many years ago. I knew their family lawyers were worth their salt. I was given one attorney temporarily before I got the one that saw my case through. The temporary one seemed to be less organized and ended up going away on holidays when my first hearing was due. I didn’t like how she seemed dismissive of my case and spoke to a partner of the firm who in turn recommended the woman who took over my case. She was very thorough. I explained to her what I wanted and what the situation was and she attacked it head on. She in turn recommended my barrister who was also very proactive. Don’t settle for someone who is dismissive of you and doesn’t take the time to view the full picture.

4. Ask around for recommendations and the referring party to qualify their recommendation. Get a lawyer who’s quick out of the gate. Find someone who enjoys litigation and has been in the field for many years. Find someone who’ll advise you with the truth, not what you want to hear. I had a list of questions to ask my lawyer when we first met. I asked mine point blank if she’d come up against a narcissist before. I knew from her answer she certainly had. I had a very nice “everyone get along” mediator-style lawyer at first and although I liked her, she fell down quickly in court. Your lawyer is your voice. Don’t settle for just anyone.

5. At the beginning of my divorce, my ex-husband consulted with the top attorneys in our county which left me unable to find decent representation. Even though he didn’t actually hire them, it was a conflict of interest and it was difficult to find someone to represent me. This is a common (and dirty) trick that everyone should be aware of when starting this process. I was left with the bottom feeder attorneys to choose from and to date, I have been through five attorneys. First, I would ensure that your attorney is familiar with the Judge assigned to your case and I would directly ask him/her what other local attorneys would say about them from a professional standpoint. Ask around, read Yelp reviews on local law firms and, if you have the opportunity, sit in the courtroom to which you are assigned.  Watch different attorneys and critique how they present in the courtroom and whether or not they have a good rapport with the actual Judge. When you’ve narrowed down your selection, ask them point-blank to describe Narcissistic Personality Disorder and furthermore, how it relates to high conflict divorces. In my opinion, this is one of the most critical topics when starting the divorce process with a narcissist. The decision that you make on your attorney could make or break your case. You are choosing an advocate to represent the best interest of your children. Choose wisely.

NOTE FROM TINA: People often ask for attorney referrals and to date, there are only three attorneys that I’ve encountered that I feel 100% comfortable referencing. Two happen to be in Southern California and the third in Florida:

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries 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.

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: Foreword to Advice from the Battlefield

Divorcing a Narcissist: Foreword to Advice from the Battlefield

Front Cover PDFForeword to Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield

by Rebecca Merritt Davis

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (subsumed in Cluster B the dramatic, emotional, and erratic group of personality disorders) emotionally abuse others in their daily family lives. Their superficial relationships exist to regulate their self-esteem (DSM-V; 2013); they may appear jovial and magnanimous with high self-esteem and vindictive, controlling, and angry in periods of diminished self-esteem. Their emotional abuse is a form of domestic violence affecting the other parent, children, and extended family; institutional settings (e.g. work, school and family court) may be touched by this abuse. Narcissistic parents will harm their children even if they love them because their impaired empathy and hypersensitivity causes them to blame the other parent, to lash out at people they perceive to not be on their side, and to do everything in their power to convince the family court system of their superiority over the other parent. Narcissists vary in their abilities to hide their abusive side in the presence of esteemed others; those with better impression management skills are more successful in court.

Tina Swithin is a dynamic individual with a mission to increase awareness of narcissism and its impact upon shared parenting and divorce among the Judges, CPS workers, Guardians Ad Litem, Parenting Coordinators, and attorneys handling divorce and custody cases in our family court system. Her Facebook group is viewed by thousands of people navigating the treacherous courtroom terrain associated with leaving a narcissist and protecting their children from narcissistic rage, gas lighting, and prolonged emotional abuse. This online community is a village of survivors united in problem solving and making positive educational and dynamic changes in the family court system. Tina and her village hope to get court personnel to realize that one disturbed individual can create and maintain high conflict divorce cases inundating the court with years of unnecessary grievances while taxing the economic and psychological resources of the other parent. The demand upon the court’s time created by vengeful narcissists could be lessened if court personnel could identify patterns associated with Cluster B personality disorders, recognize the need for psychological evaluation, understand the chronic nature of these behaviors, and take timely steps to protect children and the other parent. It is my fervent hope that Tina’s books will make their way into the courtrooms of every family court Judge as well as domestic violence agencies.

Tina developed her expertise and knowledge the hard way – marrying and divorcing a narcissist. I developed my expertise the easy way, years of graduate school, obtaining the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and working as a professor at Purdue University for more than 20 years where I taught doctoral students how to assess, diagnose, and treat individuals with personality disorders. My skill set includes a good understanding of the dynamics driving Cluster B personality disorders. When a family member married and divorced an individual with these dynamics I observed the damage experienced by children when the court is slow to recognize the severity of Cluster B disorders and delay protection of the children. Courts often assume both parties are equally to blame for creating and maintaining a high conflict case, so the non-narcissistic parent is treated as skeptically as the narcissistic parent. This is confusing to the other parent who listens to the narcissist spouting lies in the courtroom and describing self as the most devoted, caring parent. The courts may eventually recognize the need to take action and protect children of narcissistic parents but delayed action results in prolonged emotional abuse during children’s crucial developmental years.

Thousands of men and women in the family court system are battling with a narcissist, their children are not being adequately protected, and the court may grant primary custody to the narcissist who is able to glibly lie and manipulate in court. The non-narcissistic parent usually experiences anxiety in court while the narcissist may relish a performance platform to persuade the Judge they are the most worthy parent. Narcissistic parents voluntarily become delinquent in child support (financial control over other parent) will sob in court as they protest their undying love for their children and yet Judges will fail to recognize the discrepancy between courtroom statements and their behaviors outside of the courtroom. When unaffected parents become anxious or depressed from dealing with the narcissist’s abusive behaviors, they may be deemed psychologically unstable, placing them at risk of losing custody to the abuser. When their children report abuse by the narcissistic parent, the courts and CPS too frequently conclude that the other parent is alienating the children from the narcissistic parent. It is a challenge of immense proportion to set and maintain appropriate boundaries within the family and within the family court setting with narcissists. This book should be a valuable resource for family court professionals in helping them develop an understanding of narcissism and its impact upon families and the court. For those in the midst of courtroom battles, this book, combined with participation online, will help the other parent increase their coping strategies and skills in dealing with a narcissist in family court, allowing them to move beyond victimization and becoming a parent warrior, a survivor who is capable of protecting her or his children.

American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. pp. 646–649. ISBN 978-0-89042-555-8.

To share and download this file, click here: Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield 

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries 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.

Divorcing a Narcissist: Visitation Revoked Completely

Divorcing a Narcissist: Visitation Revoked Completely

sociopathby Tina Swithin

Five years and eight months.

That is how long the girls and I have endured the chaos caused by an individual with a Cluster B personality disorder. In the beginning, I latched onto the first explanation that was thrown my way by a therapist. That term was “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” (NPD) and it made sense at the time. As time has gone on and I’ve learned more, I actually believe Seth’s issues run much deeper than NPD. I have heard all the terms to label him over the years…and all from very credible people – psychopath. NPD, Dark Triad and Sociopath. To be honest, I don’t care what the label is. A label will not ease the pain that he has caused my children.

Our supervised visits came to a screeching halt earlier this month after one single visit on the heels of a 15-month long, Seth-imposed hiatus. According to our court order from July 2013, Seth was entitled to 4-6 visits per month. He missed a total of 70 visits. The visit ended before they really began because the Commissioner suspended them based on an ex parte hearing I put on calendar. That single one-hour visit caused a tremendous amount of anxiety in the children. Nightmares resurfaced and other anxiety-related issues. These issues were noted by myself, my husband and by the girl’s therapist. I knew that I could just accept the visits knowing that the girls were physically safe with a professional supervisor OR I could take a risk and put this back in front of the court with the hope that they would listen. I am thankful that I took that gamble and filed the ex parte.

Today was the hearing to discuss my ex parte request.

I was incredibly nervous this morning. We had enjoyed a month of peace since the ex parte hearing and I was not ready to step back onto the rollercoaster ride. “Not ready” was a vast understatement….I wanted to run from the courthouse. I nervously watched the hallway waiting for Seth’s arrival. Minor’s Counsel arrived and entered the courtroom.  Within minutes, the courtroom was open to the public and we entered but Seth and his attorney were no where to be seen. After the Commissioner began calling cases, he mentioned that Seth’s attorney, Mr. Slaromon, had called in and was running late. No mention of Seth and I was secretly praying that he didn’t show up.

Seth’s slimy attorney finally arrived and our case was called forward. I took my seat and Mr. Slaromon sat to my left. Minor’s counsel sat to my right. The Commissioner started proceedings and appeared frustrated. He started off by asking why Seth should even be given visits. He went on to say that he exhibits sociopathic behavior. I was in shock. Everything felt like a blur in that moment. I thought I was going in to establish a reunification plan because as we all know, the court’s goal is to reunite families. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from the Commissioner. I didn’t know that revoking his visits was even an option. I knew better than to be that bold in court because you run the risk of being seen as overly dramatic. Hearing that the Commissioner would even consider stripping Seth of visits left me scrambling for a new strategy…the statement that I had carefully prepared was now out the window.

Next, Minor’s Counsel was given the floor. He discussed his communication with the girls’ therapist and relayed an incident that happened last night in therapy. As the therapist brought up the topic of Seth and potential visits, Sarah peed her pants. It is one thing for me to report things like this but another for my daughter to pee her pants in a therapist’s office at the mere mention of her father. For those who aren’t familiar, this is common in children who have experienced early childhood abuse or trauma. My divorce from Seth began when Sarah was only two years old and she was forced into overnight visits from 2009-2011. A lot of emotional abuse occurred in that two year period of time. I still have a difficult time reflecting on those days because they were so small and so innocent.Minor’s Counsel continued to discuss the past 16 months – that Seth had many opportunities to visit the girls and that I had gone above and beyond to communicate with him to no avail. Minor’s counsel went to bat for my daughters and actually did an excellent job covering everything I had planned to say.

Next, it was my turn to state my case. For the first time, I didn’t feel rushed. I felt like they actually cared about my position and what I had to say. I acknowledged that I agreed with his (Commissioner’s) position – that it was best to remove visits completely. I then went on to describe the past 16-months. I described two little girls who were thriving and then I described what the past month had been like: nightmares, anxiety, potty accidents and even missing school due to the stress. I described the phone calls – sometimes intoxicated, bizarre demeanor and even discussing inappropriate things such as child support and that it “wasn’t his fault” that he couldn’t visit. The calls made the girls uncomfortable and I acknowledged that they had been refusing calls since April of 2014. I then reminded the court of the recent police report (Seth had attacked a woman) during our 3111 investigation. I reminded the court that this was the 5th woman to come forward since our divorce began.

The Commissioner and Minor’s Counsel bantered back and forth and the word, “Sociopath” was mentioned again by the Commissioner. I sat and watched with wide eyes and a hopeful heart. Some portions of the bantering are a blur because I decided to pray. When Seth’s attorney began to talk, I prayed harder. I remember him blaming our issues on the fighting between Seth and I. I just shook my head as I watched his attorney in action. He then went on to blame me. He told the Commissioner that I had created a blog, books and a career through this battle and alluded that the continuing conflict was my doing. The Commissioner’s response: “I know she has a blog and I know she’s written a book. I haven’t read either. What I do know is that Seth is supplying her with a lot of material to use.”

I just stared at his attorney. How can he sleep at night knowing who Seth is? How can he drive three hours to represent a person like Seth? He KNOWS that this man is not safe to be around my children or any children for that matter. Why doesn’t he send HIS children for a weekend visit with Seth? I will never understand it….

The Commissioner asked what we propose (in terms of visits) and the bantering continued. Seth’s attorney recommended weekly visits. Minor’s counsel recommended minimal visits with Seth being ordered to meet with the girl’s therapist.

The Commissioner said that he had a dilemma: “In the court system, parents have rights but…children also have rights.”

Before I could even blink, the Commissioner said the following:

“There will be no more visits. There will be no more phone calls. Communication between Seth and the girls is restricted to letters only. We all know that he will probably still try to call so Ms. Swithin has permission to record any of his calls.”

I raised my hand slightly and he nodded at me. “Can I ask that all letters go through the girl’s therapist,” I asked? “Yes, all letters are to go through the girls’ therapist,” he answered.

I thanked him and I walked out of the courtroom. I felt like I was going to faint. I sat down. I shed a few tears. Minor’s Counsel exited the courtroom and stopped to shake my hand.

I have been trying to process this all night.

No visits.

No calls.

No review date.

This is it.

This is peace for my daughters. This is peace for my family.

5 years. 8 months. Finally. It’s over.

We have peace.

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries 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.

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: Nightmare Spray

Divorcing a Narcissist: Nightmare Spray

glitter waterby Tina Swithin

The nightmares are still taking place…even with “our month of peace” that was awarded during the ex parte.

Thankfully, my youngest daughter, Sarah (age 7) does not remember the nightmares. Sometimes, she doesn’t even remember that she had a nightmare but we can hear her. Some days husband hears her yelling out when leaving for work in the morning and I’ve heard her yelling out during my recent bout with insomnia.

We have recently upped the visits to the girls’ therapist – back up to once per week to deal with the anxiety, anger, and whatever emotion is on the weekly agenda…all related to Seth’s reappearance in our lives. During a recent session, Sarah came out of the session with a cup of water. It was glitter water and it smelled of lavender.

It’s “nightmare spray,” Sarah said proudly as we walked to the car. “You get to spray it on me before bed and it will help with my bad dreams.”

Each night before bed, we deliver an extra dose of love and then spray Sarah (and her bed) with nightmare spray. She thinks it is helping and following the advice of her therapist, we will let her think that because it seems to give her peace and make it feel better, If your little one is dealing with nightmares, I highly recommend putting together your own bottle of nightmare spray.

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries 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.

The Narc Decoder: Ficus on your Husband (A Classic Email from Seth)

The Narc Decoder: Ficus on your Husband (A Classic Email from Seth)
narc decoderby Tina Swithin
The “Narc Decoder” began as a way to find light in the darkness. In the beginning of my divorce, Seth’s emails would often make me crumble to the ground. As time went on and I got stronger, I began to see right through his attempts to control and intimidate through written communication and the Narc Decoder (patent pending) was born as a way for me to cope with the craziness. Humor is truly the best medicine. A few weeks ago, I sent Seth an email regarding the impending supervised visits and my meeting with minor’s counsel. I had been made aware of the recent police report documenting Seth’s fifth victim since our divorce proceedings began. While this is victim #5, this one was especially troublesome because it occurred during our 3111 custody evaluation.This was Seth’s response to my email and apparently. the police report is a “hypothesis:”
Tina-  First off, I don’t care about your hypothesis.You’re spending child support money to write books no one reads about me.Second, you’re infatuated with me and you need to ficus on your new husband not me. So move on.

Third you’re a narcissist. Your pictures by photographers you hire are all over your little corner of social media and you with your 36 book fans are a pathetic breed. Keep it up with your nonsense while our daughters suffer from your egomania output to get losers to believe it’s okay to cheat on a husband. You will never absolve yourself yourself for your lies and selfishness in your heart.  -Seth

And into the “Narc Decoder” it goes….Snap…Crackle…Pop….Decoded!

Tina – First off, I don’t care that you have an official police report in hand. I am currently trying to concoct a story that will make this entire incident your fault. Everything is your fault in case you weren’t aware. You just sit back and wait to see what kind of story I come up with! I’m sure that you and the girl I was dating were actually in cahoots on this entire thing. Never mind the fact that you are on the west coast and she is on the east coast. I’m positive that this was all a set up and her father was probably the officer who showed up at the hotel to take the report. Now that I think about it, she is probably your third cousin twice removed. YOU set me up and forced the 23 alcoholic beverages that preceded the assault down my throat from 3,000 miles away….and you thought that you were going to get away with this! HA!

I am sure that if I keep mentioning child support money, people will believe that I pay you every month. Who cares about that measly $40,812.36 in arrears! Do you know that it eats at me that you’ve written books that tell the truth about me. I checked your Amazon reviews for the 93rd time today and you had a new review! You are now up to 265 reviews and both books are holding at 5-stars. I HATE that you are successful because it goes against everything I’ve ever told you! I hate that so many people know the truth about me.

Second, I am infatuated with myself. Why aren’t you infatuated with me…didn’t you hear all of the great things my mom said about me? Why won’t you listen, dammit!? By the way, I don’t want you to orchid or fern on your new husband. I want you to ficus on him. Wait..I never misspelled anything or made any mistakes prior to meeting YOU. Your white trash upbringing has affected my spelling. I knew it! See what you’ve done! I wrote “ficus” instead of “focus” and its all your fault. Move on and stop making me make mistakes. (Note from Tina: credit to Laura in Southern California for the ficus humor!)

Third, I’m a narcissist. Wait…I think I am actually a sociopath but I know that is a big word for you. By the way, the pictures you use of your coaching website prove that you are a narcissist also. It is very clear that in an effort to save money, you used your wedding photos versus having new photos taken…who was your photographer, by the way? I am in need of some new photos for my dating profiles. I am hoping for the “Fortune 500″ look which will go right along with what I am telling women. Did I mention that the people who read your books and blog are right up my alley?…an entire group of kind, loving, empathetic women. Do you have any of their phone numbers? I am actually on the hunt for my next victim and I love people with the qualities that I lack. I would appreciate it greatly if you would STOP educating the masses. You are eating up my dating pool every single day. By the way. I am still telling people that you cheated on me even though we both know that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Someone will eventually believe it. Won’t they? Will you just say you did because it would sure help my victim story. Please? -Seth

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries 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.

Divorcing a Narcissist: When Family Court Gets it Right

Divorcing a Narcissist: When Family Court Gets it Right

peaceby Tina Swithin

Today is a FANTASTIC DAY!  Never give up. Always follow your gut and if you feel like you’ve been failed then get back up and try again. And again. And again.

I had been warned this week that my ex parte request would probably be denied because it didn’t constitute a true emergency. After all, my daughters have professionally supervised visits.  The court website says that an emergency constitutes “the potential for blood on the floor.” I’m not joking. It really says that.

I operate today with the same mentality that has brought me through this battle. I need to put my head on a pillow each night knowing that I did everything in my power to protect my daughters. While I knew there was a 50/50 chance that the courts could shoot me down, I needed to know that I had tried.

In my request for order, I outlined the anxiety, the missed school days and the other things that had manifested due to the one hour visit with Seth. I outlined the fact that he has had 70 opportunities to see the girls yet he chose not to. I outlined his phone calls which range from bizarre and manic to drunk pocket dials. I included the message from the young woman who Seth assaulted — this assault happened in the midst of our custody evaluation and the courts had no knowledge of it. In her message to me she said, “He is mentally unstable. He snapped with a rage in his eyes that I have only seen in animals.”  

This makes the FIFTH victim who has come forward since Seth and I separated.

I was asking for visits to be decreased to one visit per month.

Minor’s counsel was requesting two visits per month.

The Commissioner stripped him of ALL visits pending the next hearing on October 28th.

Another few weeks of peace. We’ll take it.

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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 a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries 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.

Divorcing a Narcissist: Ex Parte Hearing Tomorrow

Divorcing a Narcissist: Ex Parte Hearing Tomorrow

courtby Tina Swithin

Hurricane Seth is back in full force.

The first supervised visit on Saturday was too much for the girls. The visit was one hour in duration and it had been 15-months since the girls had seen him.

During the visit, Seth brought his laptop. Why does this not shock me? If I had been away from my children for 15-months, or 15-days for that matter, the LAST thing I would want to bring was my laptop. As he asked them questions, he typed in their responses. Some questions were simple – what is your favorite color, who is your best friend and then the question that rocked my daughters: who is your teacher?  They are terrified that he will show up at the school and worse, go to their classrooms. They know he has followed our car, etc and the thought of giving him personal details began to worry them more and more as it sunk in.

He also brought pictures. Not just a few but an entire bin of photos. Many of you have read my previous blog about pictures - Seth uses photos to capture and prove love. If he and the girls were smiling in a photo, that captures the love and gives him proof. This has been an ongoing issue – he used to go to the girls preschool and force the teachers to look at photos of he and the girls. Social cues don’t seem to register with him, or most narcissists for that matter so despite how forced and uncomfortable the interactions are, Seth needs people to see photos that prove and capture the one thing he is incapable of: real love. The girls said it was awkward and uncomfortable. They are old enough now to know that love is something you feel. For that, I am thankful.

The visit caused stress and anxiety which has manifested in a variety of ways. Fearing the increase in time – from one hour to two hours and fearing that this could repeat up to six times per month (1st, 3rd and 5th weekends- Saturdays AND Sundays), I decided to act. I have filed an emergency hearing which is on calendar for tomorrow morning, I am asking the courts to reduce the visits to one visit per month. Minor’s counsel had a call with the girls’ therapist and supervisor and together, they came up with a plan of two visits per month — each visit being an hour in duration for the first 30-days and then increasing to 1.5 hours after 30 days. They are also requesting that Seth is ordered to meet with the girls’ therapist who has been an angel in our lives…and someone who “gets it.

Late this afternoon, I received Seth’s response to my emergency motion — sent from his attorney, Vinnie Slaromon. My favorite part of Seth’s declaration was this:

“I am requesting assistance from the court to allow adequate time for me to visit with our daughters in order to rebuild a meaningful relationship with them after a long time of interference by Ms. Swithin.”

Really?

Interference?

Does he think that the court will buy into this?!

He disappears for 15-months and even that is MY fault?

Of course it is. I am dealing with a Narcissist.

I have enjoyed 15-months of peace and now I am putting the battle gear back on.  Stay tuned for the most recent email which is currently being processed in the “Narc Decoder”….

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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 a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries 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.

Divorcing a Narcissist: Seth on his Best Behavior

Divorcing a Narcissist: Seth on his Best Behavior

policeby Tina Swithin

As many of you know, Seth and I underwent an intensive custody evaluation last year that began in January 2013 and ended in July 2013. The report is sealed and confidential but resulted in a final custody order for supervised visits. It also validated everything that I’ve put in front of the court for over 4 years. During the evaluation, Seth tried hard to put on a good show for the evaluator. He baked me an apple pie, set up a fake apartment and even set up bird house crafts for the girls to paint while the evaluator was touring “his” apartment. I was in awe that during the final stretch, he violated court orders and took the girls into a pub where he consumed alcohol. While that grave error was only a small part of the things uncovered in the evaluation, it sealed his fate when it came to the final custody order.

I remember being SO worried that the evaluator would buy into his presentation. No matter how positive I tried to be, it was a nerve-wracking period of time. Little did I know that while Seth was on his “best behavior,” he assaulted someone in Florida while on a drunken rage. While I have known about this issue for a while now, I haven’t publicly spoken about it. Now that the police report has been filed with the court, it is public information. Sometimes I feel like I am trapped in a horrible soap opera.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Last year, I wrote a blog about gazelles — also known as Seth’s prey. It had been brought to my attention that Seth was engaged to “Gazelle #3.” There were professional engagement photos posted online of Seth and Sharon, yet when questioned by the evaluator, he refused to provide her name or answer any questions about her. He was very evasive during questioning. After recently receiving a police report from Florida, his evasiveness during questioning makes complete sense.

On Valentine’s Day (2013) weekend, Gazelle #3 ran a marathon and Seth stayed behind in their hotel room during a large portion of the race. During that time, he accessed her computer, phone, camera and social media accounts without her permission. He found things he didn’t like including communication that she had with an ex-boyfriend. Later when she tried to log into her computer, she discovered that he had password protected the computer and she was unable to log on. Later that day and into the night, he proceeded to drink heavily and around 9pm, he re-entered the hotel room (“staggered into the hotel room” was how it was described in the police report) where Gazelle #3 was sleeping. They had a verbal altercation and Seth accused her of being in love with her ex-boyfriend. From there it says, “The suspect attempted to grab the victim’s cell phone out of her hands and a struggle ensued. The suspect grabbed the victim by her left wrist and she started screaming.” Apparently, multiple people in nearby rooms called 911 and because of the screams, hotel security also responded. Hotel security then made him pack his belongings and he fled prior to the police arriving. Charges were listed as “Battery using personal weapons – hands or feet.”

This was a man on his “best behavior” in the middle of a custody evaluation. As of this week, the police reports have been submitted to the courts.

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries 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.

 

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: Hurricane Seth

Divorcing a Narcissist: Hurricane Seth

stomachby Tina Swithin

“Mom, I really don’t want to go. My stomach starts hurting if I even think about it,” said Piper (age 9.5).

That was how our walk to school began this morning.

Tomorrow is our first supervised visit with Seth. The last time the girls saw him was July 2013 and they have refused his calls since April of this year. I haven’t been blogging about our new roller coaster ride lately because somehow, putting it out there makes it feel real. With tomorrow’s visit looming, reality is knocking on my door whether I like it or not and unfortunately, I am being forced to open it.

A huge part of me feels tremendous guilt. My daughters are safe. The majority of the OMB group members are forced to send their children to the monsters- unsupervised. I have been there and I know that feeling so well. I am trying to find my gratitude but it’s been difficult. I need to remind myself that our visits are supervised and the girls are safe. I need to remember that supervised visits are what I fought SO hard for. I need to be thankful for the 14+ months of peace that we’ve had. Then my daughter tells me that she wishes he would disappear forever and it all comes rushing back in. He is back.

I picked the girls up from school on Monday and as Piper climbed into my car she said with teary-eyes, “Mom- my stomach hurts so bad. I want to go home. I don’t want to go to the appointment.” We were scheduled to go straight from school to meet the new supervisor, Laura. I looked at Piper through the rearview mirror and I could see it in her eyes. “Honey, it will only be an hour and we can’t cancel.” “Mom, I’m really sick. I don’t want to go.”  This is my daughter who never misses school and has even tried to attend school with a slight fever. She is rarely sick and I’d never seen her act like this.

We arrived at the supervisor’s office and as we sat on her couch in the waiting room, Piper was holding her stomach and writhing in pain. It took everything in me not to grab the girls and leave. This is opening wounds that were finally healing. The girls are thriving in school and in life. I explained to the supervisor that Piper was having a stomach ache and she did a good job of trying to ease their minds about how the visits would play out and the games they could play along with the places they could go. Afterwards, I met with her alone and explained my concerns while providing as much history as I could. Like most therapists, she is of the mindset that two parents, no matter how broken, are better than just one parent. As a child who was subjected to the mental illness of a parent, I have a different and firm opinion on that subject but that is a blog in itself. On the way home, Piper said, “Mom….I really don’t want to go see him.”

Tuesday morning, I woke the girls up from school and Piper was in pain. Her stomach again. I called into the school and let them know that she would be staying home. I contacted her therapist and was instructed to use this as an opportunity to teach her about self-care. We went to lunch together and then had ice cream. We had the opportunity to talk about life and school. She spend the day reading books, watching movies and doing crafts. I hate watching what the stress from Seth is doing to her. In addition to the stomach aches, the stress is also coming out this week in pre-teen defiance which is difficult to absorb however, I understand. I have the tools to process these events and they are still difficult for me at the age of 40. She simply does not have the coping skills and I hate that he has the power to roll in like an evil hurricane and cause such discord.

As I type this, “Daughters” by John Mayer is playing in the background. Thanks, Pandora. Very appropriate timing.

Fathers be good to your daughters.”

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries 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.

 

Turning 40 and Adjusting My Sails

Turning 40 and Adjusting My Sails

sailsby Tina Swithin

I am not a football fan but I know a good end zone dance when I see one. I am currently heading for the end zone – the end of a decade. This week, I turn 40 years old. At first, like many of my peers, I struggled with the thought of leaving my 30’s until a few things put it all into perspective for me.

  1. I lost some longtime friends over the past year. Not because of a falling out or a silly argument. It was much bigger than that. Several amazing women that I’ve known since elementary school faced cancer bravely but in the end, it succeeded in taking them from their friends, their family and this world. It felt pretty petty to complain about a new year of life when there are people unable to enjoy another day…or another breath. In their honor, I will embrace my 40’s the way I embrace everything. With life. With love. With all of my being.
  2. I could look at the negatives and dwell on them or, I could look at the picture as a whole and focus on the positives  and on all that I have accomplished over the past ten years. Here are just a few of the moments that stand out in my mind over the past decade:
  • I was handed a diagnosis of MS months before turning 30 which at the time, was a devastating blow. I then embarked on a long and windy road filled with numerous doctors, hospital stays, lab tests and various treatment plans. Through this journey, I have taken the lemons and made lemonade while trying to stay positive.
  • Weeks before my 30th birthday, I discovered that I was pregnant with my first daughter. That year, I learned what it meant to be selfless. I learned that the love you have for your child is a love that you can never describe. In April of 2005, I held my baby for the first time and my life forever changed.
  • At the age of 32, the love that I had for my daughter expanded to include a second daughter. During my pregnancy, I wondered how I could love another child the same way I loved my little girl but those concerns were quickly dismissed when they placed a 6lb 9oz baby girl in my arms in April of 2007.
  • At the age of 34, my marriage ended and I embarked on a journey that few will ever be able to understand. I am thankful that they don’t understand because it is a journey that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
  • That same year, I found God. He had been there all along. He wasn’t hiding- I had been. For the first time in my life, I had faith.
  • Months later, and very unexpectedly, I met my best friend. It just so happened that my best friend turned out to be tall, dark, handsome and the kindest, most honest man I had ever met. Thus began a type of love that I didn’t know existed.
  • At the age of 37, I had this silly little idea to start a blog. That blog has morphed into two books and a movement that I could have never envisioned.
  • At the age of 38, I married by best friend and together; we have five children ranging from the age of 25 all the way down to 7. His are grown and out of the house…mine are not. We are the modern day Brady Bunch complete with all the chaos and craziness that you would expect. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
  • Just three months after my wedding, I was successful in my plight to protect my daughters. Anyone who has been in the Family Court System with a narcissist knows how monumental this is. A full 14 months of peace ensued following this life-changing day.
  • At the age of 39, I launched a non-profit organization which will work to educate the Family Court System on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and a coaching business which allows me to educate and empower those in the trenches. I have discovered what it means to “find  your passion” and everything that has happened over the past ten years makes complete sense.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be. It all makes sense. The good times, the bad times and even the times when I waived my fists in the air and cried. The times when I crumbled to the floor and questioned my faith. It all makes sense and I am thankful to be where I am today. I am at the end of a decade and I am doing my own version of an end zone dance.  - 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 a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries 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.