Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield (Foreword)

Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield (Foreword)

Front coverby Rebecca Davis Merritt 

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or other Cluster B personality disorders such as Antisocial and Borderline) emotionally abuse those in their daily family lives. This emotional abuse is a form of domestic violence affecting the other parent, children, extended family, and institutional settings (school and family court) have to deal with this abuse. Narcissistic parents will harm their children even if they love them because their impaired empathy and hypersensitivity to real and imagined wrongs causes them to blame the other parent, to lash out at people they perceive to not be on their side, and to do everything in their power to convince the family court system of their superiority over the other parent. Narcissists vary in their abilities to hide their abusive side in the presence of esteemed others; those with better impression management skills are more successful in their court battles. If Narcissists gain primary custody of their children they usually move toward alienating the children from their other parent, delighting in not following parenting time guidelines or court documents.  If they do not gain primary custody they generally moved toward painting the other parents as responsible for their estrangement from the children instead of acknowledging behaviors directed toward the other parent and children have made the children distrusting of them and skeptical of spending safe time with them. The narcissist will try to use parental alienation by the healthy parent to convince the court of the need to switch custody.  Such a switch places the children in a consistently emotionally and/or physically abusive environment. The Narcissist “gaslights” the children and other parent, trying to convince them that the other parent is at fault for everything, cannot be trusted, and that the children MUST obey and support him/her at every moment.  Phone calls or Skype parenting time with other parent will be heavily monitored, children will be coached, and contact will end if they misspeak.  Clear guidelines need to be placed in parenting time documents regarding no monitoring of electronic parenting time, no confiscation of tablets or phones used in this communication, with sanctions outlined for violation.

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

Tina developed her expertise and knowledge the hard way – marrying and divorcing a narcissist.  I (Rebecca Davis Merritt); developed my expertise the easy way, years of graduate school, obtaining the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, working as a professor at Purdue University for more than 20 years where I taught doctoral students how to assess, diagnose, and treat individuals with personality disorders. My skill set included a good understanding of the dynamics driving Cluster B personality disorders.  When a family member married and divorced an individual with these dynamics I observed the damage experienced by children when the court is slow to recognize the severity of Cluster B disorders and fail to protect promptly children.  Court often assumes both parties are equally to blame for creating and maintaining a high conflict case, so the unaffected parent is treated as skeptically as the narcissistic parent.  This is confusing to the unaffected parent who often listens to the narcissist spouting lies in the courtroom and describing self as the most devoted, caring parent.  The courts may eventually recognize the need to take action and protect children of narcissistic parents but the slowness to take action results in prolonged emotional abuse during crucial developmental stages.  Thousands of men and women in the family court system are battling with a narcissist, their children are not being protected, and the court may grant primary custody to the narcissist who is able to glibly lie and manipulate in court.  Narcissistic parents voluntarily delinquent in child support will cry in court as they protest their undying love for their children and yet judges will fail to recognize the discrepancy between courtroom statements and their behaviors outside of the courtroom brought to the courts attention (not paying child support when they have the ability to do so, emotionally and/or physically harming the children, stalking/threatening the other parent etc.). When unaffected parents become anxious or depressed from dealing with the narcissist’s abusive behaviors, they may be deemed psychologically unstable, placing them at risk of losing custody to the abuser.  When their children report emotional abuse by the narcissistic parent, the courts and CPS too frequently conclude that the unaffected parent is alienating the children from the narcissistic parent.  It is a challenge of immense proportion to set and maintain appropriate boundaries within the family and within the family court setting with narcissists.  A careful reading of Tina’s book Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield (ISBN-10: 0615986344) will help the unaffected parent increase their coping strategies and skills in dealing with a narcissist and helping their children recognize when and how to set boundaries with their narcissistic parent.  This book will also be a valuable resource for all those participating in family court as it will help them develop an understanding of narcissism and its impact upon families and the court. Finally for those just learning about narcissism Tina’s first book “Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” (ISBN-10: 0615720552), “Divorce Poison” by Richard Warshak (ISBN-10: 0061862162), and “Splitting” by Bill Eddy (ISBN: 1608820254) should be useful.

NOTE FROM TINA: I thought it was very important to share this message and I encourage you to share Rebecca’s words with attorneys, GALs, social workers, Judges, etc.  Thank you for being a part of this amazing little village.

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin at www.tinaswithin.com

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

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Taking the First Brave Step Away from a Narcissist

Taking the First Brave Step Away from a Narcissist

braveby Lucy K. Wright

“Courage is Found in Unlikely Places”  ― J.R.R.Tolkien

My best friend is a police officer.  We have been friends for many years, and he has been a good listener to me during my trials and tribulations in dealing with my ExN.  He has heard me yell in anger, cry heavy tears, and endlessly question why this situation with my ExN never seems to end.  He reminds me often that my ExN “is broken,” and no, it probably will never end. I can tell him anything and he doesn’t judge me.  He generally sits quietly, dumbfounded by many of the haunting stories I tell from my past. He has been a true supportive friend, offering his unconditional help and encouragement throughout the years.

I am lucky to have such a good friend and I know it.

_______________________

My police officer friend told me a story not long ago about a domestic violence situation he was called to deal with at work.  The call involved a woman, whose name I do not know, but whom I will call Valiente.

Valiente lived in fear of her abusive husband.  Her husband was irate that particular evening. She was terrified to call for help, dreading her husband would be even angrier and more abusive than he already had been that night. She was worried about her kids being safe.

My friend spoke with Valiente, and in starting to hear her words, he said he kept thinking about me.  He has heard my story, and through my eyes, he has a more intimate understanding of being “the victim” in this type of domestic violence situation. She was in the same situation I was in, when I was taking my first steps forward several years ago.

He listened as Valiente’s friend told him how terrified Valiente was of her husband.  And, how Valiente didn’t think she had the strength to call for help, but she knew it was time and that she had to, for her kids and for herself.  Valiente’s friend said Valiente had been thinking about calling the police for a long time, but fear held her back.  She was fearful of him, her Narcissistic abusive husband.

My police officer friend told Valiente that she was brave, and that he was proud of her for calling for help.  He said she smiled.

_______________________

I cried when my friend told me this story.

It’s terrifying to take the first steps.  Instinctively you know as a woman and a mother you are at a point of needing help before things get worse.

The morning I knew, it was very early, the kids were still asleep, and the ExN was standing over me in bed.  I sensed him and heard him, but I kept my eyes closed in fear, my heart was rapidly pounding.  I thought he was really going to hurt me that morning, to the point I didn’t know if I would recover.  I kept thinking about my kids.  Who would I help them if I wasn’t there?  That was the morning I knew I needed to get out, and the morning I knew I needed a plan to get help.

My police officer friend is a good man and a committed loyal citizen who performs his job with honor and integrity.  I know he would have “done the right thing,” in dealing with Valiente and her situation that evening whether he knew my story or not.  I also know he was a little more understanding and sympathetic to this woman because he did know my story, and he appreciated how tough it was for her be asking him for assistance that evening.  He understood.

________________________

In Spanish, “Valiente” means brave.

I send a big hug to the woman whose name I do not know, but whom I name Valiente.  I know how much courage it took for you to call for help.  And I, too, am proud of you for being so Brave.

~LLS~  Lucy K.

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin at www.tinaswithin.com

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

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Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott: Watching a Narcissist in Action

Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott: Watching a Narcissist in Action

toriby Tina Swithin

I still remember watching Beverly Hills 90210 in high school and being completely enthralled with the show as a 16-year old girl. I will be the first to admit that my guilty pleasure for years has been reality television. My interest in reality television has evolved in recent years due to my work surrounding personality disorders. The cameras seem to attract personality disordered individuals like moths on my porch light. I find myself fascinated that there isn’t more awareness surrounding Narcissistic Personality Disorder as it is increasingly prevalent and very obvious on shows like The Real Housewives and now, True Tori.

Yesterday, we received a message on the One Mom’s Battle Facebook page that said the following:

True Tori…is on Tuesday nights on the Lifetime channel (10Eastern/9Central). It’s a reality show following the aftermath of Tori Spelling’s cheating, alcohol/sex/drug addict husband and whether she is going to stay or leave him.

He is a classic narcissist or worse a sociopath narcissist who has Tori and her counselor jumping through his manipulative hoops. He is a masterful puppet master who does not own up to what he has done and he will not allow Tori to speak her feelings he is constantly interrupting and turning everything back to him.

If you go to Lifetime.com then click on “TrueTori” you can watch the first two episodes. It’s interesting to watch a narc in action from this side. And yes she cheated on her husband with this man but if you truly have educated yourself on the behavior of a narc especially love bombing, pity play, gas lighting abuse you will know that she was conned out of her marriage and right into a marriage with this narc. So out of respect of another women (Tori) who is just a victim of a narcissist I hope that you will give her the same respect that you deserve as a victim. Thank you.

I’ve grown up watching Tori Spelling on television and have watched her “Tori and Dean” reality television a handful of times over the years. Something never sat right with me as I watched their perfect life which always seemed too perfect. It reminded me of the fake life I once lived. I would see media stories about Tori discussing their money issues and then hear that Dean McDermott was angered by her honesty. Now, watching their current reality television series, “True Tori” has put all of the pieces together for me.  It’s almost painful to watch.

I encourage you to watch the episodes but I will warn you, his behavior is a trigger for anyone who has been with a Narcissist or a sociopath. I have watched Dean McDermott sit on the couch of Dr. Ann Wexler over the past two episodes and it brought up so many memories for me. I am in shock that the Doctor is actually being manipulated and jumping through the hoops McDermott is holding out for her. He is presenting classic narcissistic behavior and my heart goes out to Tori Spelling. I hope that she becomes educated on Narcissistic Personality Disorder quickly.

In true narcissistic fashion, Dean has taken his affair and turned it around to be Tori’s fault for not giving him enough sex (while she’s running around caring for four small children), he then creates a pity party surrounding his rough past and addictions and finally, he re-claims the spotlight whenever she tries to share her hurt or her feelings by talking about suicide and having a breakdown. If his breakdown is actually real, it has more to do that he has been exposed and nothing to do with the fact that he cheated on his wife.

Here is a link to the episodes on Lifetime: True Tori

I agree with the woman who posted on the Facebook page, it is very interesting to watch a narcissist in action.

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

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

Seeking Divorce Coaching through your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin through her coaching website at www.tinaswithin.com

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

 

Putting Spyware on My Computer Was “Cheaper than Hiring a Private Detective”

Putting Spyware on My Computer Was “Cheaper than Hiring a Private Detective”

spyware-indexby Lucy K. Wright

We went to three marriage counselors in a three-month time frame.  He walked out on all of them after each, in their own unique counselor ways, told him to look in the mirror and take some responsibility for the demise of the relationship.  Every time he heard that, we switched counselors.

I suggested that he choose the next counselor after the first one that I chose, who was “stupid and clearly incapable of dealing with our situation” according to him.  He chose the second counselor, and then the third.  For homework, we were asked to read several “saving your marriage” books.  His were highlighted and sticky-note marked almost every other page.  I read mine and tried to practice some of what was being suggested, but it was difficult because the life I was living with a narcissist was not categorized under any “how-to” chapters listed in the books.  I got in trouble because my book didn’t look as “studied and worn in” as his; therefore I “must not be putting as much effort into saving the marriage as he was.”

On a particular day in-between counseling sessions he was exceptionally angry, again, and yelling at me, again.  The kids were with us and I was on the back porch trying to play with both of them and maintain as much calm as I could.  He was standing in the doorway blocking it so I could not get back into the house.

During the course of what seemed like an eternity that afternoon, he had my cell phone service turned off, took all the credit cards and money from my purse, depleted our savings account, and had the phone numbers to several of my family member and friends blocked so I could not call them and they could not call me.

He took almost all of the items from my closet and put them in his car to “return to the stores” or “take to the Goodwill” since he “worked hard in order to buy me those clothes” that now I did not deserve.

He was technically savvy and decided to change the password on my computer and then put spyware on it.  After he “gave” me back my password, he, with the spyware still activated, read everything on my computer including emails I received before I even knew they were there. Not being nearly as technically savvy as he, I had no idea this was going on, nor for how long it had been occurring. In this day and age, tampering with a computer like he did then would have been a much more serious issue, but at the time, he said he was doing it because it was “cheaper than hiring a private detective to follow me.”  I had absolutely nothing to hide, but he insisted I was having an affair.  Later, he boastfully spoke about the spyware and the alleged affair when we attended one of many appearances in court.

With him working from home every single day, and keeping me basically prisoner in our home since I had no means to leave for even a short amount time, or do anything without him knowing, there was no possible way I was, or was even thinking about having an affair.  I had little energy to persist through the days as they were; I used all of the energy I did have to take care of my kids as best I could.

A very quick phone call to a neighbor that afternoon left me with the name of an attorney. I was scared.  I had been reduced to a set of car keys and my driver’s license; he had taken everything else.  I called the attorney.  I was very naïve and did not know at all what to expect.  She said she could meet with me that day.

I made up an excuse to go to the grocery store in order to be permitted to leave our home.  I knew I would have about 23 minutes and counting before he started calling, asking where I was and why I was taking so long at the store. But I had to talk to the attorney, no matter what the consequences from him afterwards might have been.  I took that first step in talking to someone about my life, my dark chaos.  This lawyer was someone who would eventually help lead me through round one of the legal maze I was about to enter.

I will always remember driving to that attorney’s office and the fear I had, not having the slightest inkling of the land mine I was about to step into and the life-changes I was about to embark upon.  When I drove to her office it was grey and raining outside.  When I was driving home it was still grey and raining, but there were streaks of sunlight and some blue sky gleaming through the darkness.   I saw that as a very big sign.

Despite all of my doubts and fears surrounding my existence with him and everything he was capable of doing, I knew I somehow had to find the strength and courage to do the right thing for me, and for my children.  As I write this now I fear where I would have ended up today had I not finally realized and admitted to myself that I was not going to survive his continued abuse for much longer, and still be able to care of my children.

I was tremendously afraid of him by then, but on that particular day I knew I had taken my very first baby step forward.  Although there were going to be many more baby steps forward, coupled with many giant steps backwards along the way in this lengthy, draining, financially-straining, and very emotional process, my gut was telling me to keep moving forward, and that it was all going to be OK.

In still fighting this battle for over six years now, it’s tough as hell some days with the continued nastiness of the N-Ex, and the lawyers, and the threats, and the court appearances… but life is OK.  Life is wonderful in fact, and looking back at all of this, I know how very blessed I am.

~LLS~  Lucy K.

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

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

Seeking Divorce Coaching through your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin through her coaching website at www.tinaswithin.com

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

 

“Project Managing” our Marriage. And the First Encounter With The Police.

“Project Managing” our Marriage. And the First Encounter With The Police.

police-tapeby Lucy K. Wright

I scheduled my first real counseling session and told the N-Ex about it.  It was time. I was not going to make it much longer through the daily cycles of abuse before completely self-imploding.

He immediately called the same counselor to schedule an appointment for himself four days later.  Why?  Because I wasn’t going to be allowed to talk to someone without him being involved, controlling the situation.

We went to a counseling session together four days after that.

A few days after our session together he threatened to move out of the house.  And then he opened his own checking account.  He didn’t simply open his own account; he transferred all of our money into his own account, as well as his direct deposit from work, so that I had to “ask” him for money for groceries, to pay bills, etc.

About three weeks after the first session with “my” counselor, who quickly became “ours,” life started spinning out of control.  On one particular day the following events occurred:

  • He told his work he was no longer traveling and started working 100% of the time from home.
  • He appeared at the retail store where I worked during the day, in-between taking and picking up the kids from school, to let me know he would be at home full time in order to “project manage our marriage and our life since I obviously couldn’t handle it anymore.”  He yelled and let me know what an “unfit mother” I was and how I was ruining his career  People in the stores nearby came by after he left to make sure I was ok.
  • He texted, called, and made threats all day long.  That became the routine every day afterwards.  Because I scheduled a counseling session, for the first time in our marriage he felt like he was losing control.  Narcissists never lose control.
  • He threatened to take the kids permanently two or three times that day and sternly mentioned that I “would never see them again because he was one with a job and would get primary custody.”
  • I was told I was “not welcome” in “his home” any longer and told to leave.  To get out.  To not come back.

I was absolutely terrified.  I left.  I probably shouldn’t have but I believed he would not harm the kids physically, only possibly me.  I left my kids and drove around the block hysterically.  I didn’t know what to do, or what he was going to do next.  I called my neighbor who was well aware of our situation at that point and asked his professional advice.  He told me to get home if I wanted to be of any help to my kids.  He told me to call 911.

I pulled up in our driveway and left my car behind where I knew his was parked in the garage.  I stood in my neighbor’s driveway and called 911.  I was shaking with terror, not knowing what he was doing inside my home, or if my kids were ok.

The police arrived quickly.  They pulled up about the same time our garage door opened, the Ex-N’s back-up lights on as he was pulling out of our garage.  He stopped abruptly as to not hit my car, which was parked behind him. Suitcases were loaded in the back of the car, and he was leaving, with our children.  Thankfully I went back home when I did and had made that call for help.

He told the police he was leaving with our kids.  It was very late at night and they were both in the car. I didn’t know at the time, or for some time later that my young son was sound asleep throughout the entire ordeal, but my young daughter was wide awake, crying and afraid in the car as she watched the two policemen talk to me, the Ex-N and our neighbors.  The Ex-N told the police he was taking the kids to his parents home, three states away, and would return at the end of the summer after he and I sorted some things out.

The police talked for quite a while.  They decided things could be worked out between us after the Ex-N told them we were just having a bad day and a few marital spats.  They suggested he sleep in the guest room and then they got in their cars and left me alone with him. I got to carry my two kids upstairs and lay next to them in bed, holding them tight as the nightmare of the few hours before filled my head.  I could not stop crying or even start to comprehend why life had become like this.

I was more afraid of him than I’d ever been before that day.  I knew I was slowly losing the mental and physical strength to help myself, and be there for my kids. I knew I somehow had to be resilient.

That night the police left was the first night I truly stopped sleeping for what became a very long period of time to come.  I slept a few hours at a time, always half-awake in fear that he was going to appear and hurt me with his angry words or otherwise.

I prayed each night, thankful for surviving the day behind me, and asking for the strength to survive the next.

~LLS~  Lucy K.

 

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

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

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

Divorcing a Narcissist: L and her Little One

Divorcing a Narcissist: L and her Little One

littleby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Divorcing a Narcissist: I Knew I Would Have a Miscarriage; He Left for Boys Week Anyhow.

Divorcing a Narcissist: I Knew I Would Have a Miscarriage; He Left for Boys Week Anyhow.

ultraby Lucy K. Wright 

  • (*Please note:  Nothing in this entry is meant to suggest, offer opinions about, or judge anyone’s particular beliefs about the topic of when life begins or otherwise.  This is just me, telling my story about what happened to me mentally and physically, and how I felt during this particular time of my life.  I respect others’ beliefs whether they are similar or different than mine, and ask you please do the same.)

We both worked for about five years after the wedding.  I felt somewhat independent during that time, making my own money, having a social life at and outside of work, and traveling quite a lot.  He traveled for his job also, and I believe deep down that we managed during our early years of marriage because we were often apart.

I had a beautiful baby girl soon after I left the workplace.  My first realization of pure, true, unconditional love was the moment she was born and the doctor placed her on my chest.  I will always know that feeling.  I stayed at home with my daughter and embraced motherhood.  At times I struggled being at home, with the companionship of only a newborn, but I also knew how lucky I was to have that wonderful opportunity and time with my child, and I cherished it.  I didn’t have the socialization at work or feel the independence I once had, but I started to involve myself in groups of stay-at-home moms and quickly made new friends.

It was during those years when I really started to feel the parallel of my life with the Ex-N starting to move apart.  He was still traveling and socializing a lot, especially it seemed with a lot of women at work.  He brought some of his female teammates to our home on occasion after they had lunch out together.  I was generally caught by surprise with these unannounced visits, the women appearing in their business suits, and me looking very comfortable still wearing workout pants from the day before, no makeup and overall a look that confirmed I was indeed a stay-at-home mom of a newborn.  When I asked the N-Ex about these women the standard answer was always about them being friends and cohorts at work only.  That may have been the case, I don’t really know, but it was clear, with these female friends and his numerous expensive work-event nights out, our two worlds were growing apart very quickly.  Where we once had the topic of each other’s respective careers to discuss, we no longer had that as my world revolved around everything baby and his remained the same independent one he had always known before.

He was not comfortable around babies and he never helped with any of the child-rearing duties.  Feeding, changing, getting up at all hours of the night, walks, doctor visits, laundry, play-dates, early learning lessons, buying diapers and formula, etc. etc. etc. were all on my plate; I was home after all, and he was still “working”.   I left him home with the baby for about a three hour stretch one day to get my hair done finally after not being out of the house for quite some time.  I came home to him wearing a mask and gloves, sitting over our baby on the floor with a big black trashbag nearby.  I asked what he was doing and he repulsively answered that he finally “had” to change a really messy diaper because it took so long for me to get home.  The Ex-N did not really do the baby-thing ever.  Or the child-thing for that matter either.

A little over two years after our daughter being born, I discovered I was pregnant again.  I was very happy as I felt good about the mommy-network I had worked so hard to establish by then, and was ready for another bundle of joy to love.

Several weeks into the pregnancy I went for a checkup and was told by my doctor that the fetus was not developing.  She explained a lot of things that visit, and basically told me to expect a miscarriage.  She preferred I try and have it naturally if possible, and after much discussion so I understood as much as I could, I agreed.  She said it would most likely happen in a weeks’ time.

I walked out of that office in a mental state I cannot describe.  I felt sadness, disbelief, numbness, guilt, and anger all at once.  I looked at everyone around me that day and many days to come, and could not stop thinking that as others were going to the grocery store and driving their cars and taking their kids to preschool, at any moment of time, as I was doing those regular daily tasks also, I could have a miscarriage.  Emotionally it was something I tried to accept, but the unknown of what was going to happen to my body, where I was going to be, and how I was going to feel when it did happen, was something that was on my brain during every minute of every day and night.

My N-Ex listened as I sobbed and told him about the doctor visit and what would be happening to me in the next week.  He took more of a factual approach and did research to learn more than what he thought I heard and repeated from the doctor.  He asked several questions about the timing of this event to come; when I said the doctor wanted to give it a week before discussing next options I could sense something wrong from him.  During this same conversation he brought up his Boys Week trip that was planned and scheduled for the latter part of the week.

Didn’t I remember?

He had a plane ticket that would take him several states away to bond with his college buddies, a trip they took annually, and participation taken so seriously, it may as well have been required to sign confirmation of attendance in blood.  He said several times he could consider not going; he “could stay home”; but I knew better, and despite the emotional and physical state I was in, there was just no point of trying to suggest he might actually consider staying with me to help.

Over the next few days I felt the world spinning around me.  Everything normal I tried to do was not normal that week.  My doctor told me what to expect, but I did not really know what to expect or what was going to happen, as I had never experienced anything like that before.  Ex-N kept bringing up the trip and asking me whether I thought he should go or not go; he would stay if I really wanted him to.  I guess you could say he offered, but the questions were rhetorical and the offer was anything but genuine. I knew it would be easier for him to go and me to deal with the week by myself.  It was clear he really didn’t want to be there with me, helping me with our three year old, anyhow.  As I had learned a long time prior in our relationship, Boys Week, which was basically a full party week where a bunch of fraternity guys got together, drinking, playing games, doing whatever else they did and pretending to still be in college again, was never an option or a “maybe”; That planned week trumped anything else in life, apparently even this.

I knew I would have a miscarriage that week.  He got on a flight for Boys Week anyhow.

I physically got through my week. It was tough.  Mentally it took me a long time to recover.  I believe things in life happen for a reason, and I believe there was some reason my body was not ready to handle a pregnancy at that particular time.  I cried, slept, did a lot of thinking, and talked to my mom and my friends. They were supportive and I was grateful they were there. I hugged my baby girl very tight.  I healed and moved on.  But I never forgot that my “husband” was not there for me during that time, and that his social life was so much more important to him that week than I was.

About a year later I became pregnant again and delivered a healthy, happy, beautiful baby boy.  I sometimes look at him today, and think about his kind, warm heart that loves “mom” unconditionally. I know he would not be the one here today had I not experienced what I did prior to my pregnancy with him.  I count my lucky stars every day that I was chosen to be his mom.  And my daughter’s too.

I don’t know why Narcissists make the choices they do, that hurt the people they claim to love.  As difficult as my past with the Ex-N has been, while still dealing with lawyers, court and so much unnecessary drama even now, I have two amazing and beautiful children who make this battle and my life worth living each and every minute of each and every day.

Things do happen for a reason.

~LLS~ Lucy K. Wright

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Divorcing a Narcissist: “Counseling Equals Divorce”

Divorcing a Narcissist: “Counseling Equals Divorce”

woman-toying-with-wedding-ringby Lucy K. Wright

We were approaching our 12-year anniversary, had two beautiful children and were living completely parallel lives.  He was never home.  I tended to the kids, and the home, the finances, and making sure everything was as it should be so he, and we, had a comfortable life.

I got in trouble when he took the kids for an hour or so on the weekends because I “was not participating” in family time; yet, it was the only one or two hours of time a week I ever had to myself.  I resented the weekends when he was home.  I worked hard all week being a mom, and rather than look forward to the weekends with him being there to help and us work together as a couple and a team, I instead gained a third child who needed to rest, be served meals, watch golf and relax from “his busy week at work.”  He worked hard too, I knew that, but so did I.  My “work” just didn’t count.

The light bulb in my life was slowly starting to illuminate at that time.  I had no relationship with my husband and after being at home with my kids for so many years I had no idea who I was any more as a person.  I was a great mom.  I loved being a mom.  But what else was there about me?  What defined me besides being a mom and homemaker?  At that time, there was not much else.

I had been to three secret counseling sessions throughout the years, each with a different random counselor I found in the Yellow Pages, and each when I was at a point of desperation needing to talk with someone.  I knew before scheduling each of these sessions that I had hit my threshold with the N-Ex, and was on the verge of self-imploding.  We didn’t talk much at all and I was at a loss for where to turn.  The one-time sessions seemed to help.

I didn’t ever tell the N-Ex I went to these counseling sessions.  I knew he would be very angry and grill me with questions about why I went. All I remember from each session was me, sitting on three different sofas in three different offices, and crying.  I cried each entire hour I was telling my story.  The sessions were always over way too quickly.  I walked out of each time feeling like I had said what I needed to say to get things off of my mind enough to proceed on with my same controlled life the very next day.

It took something as simple as a phone call from an old friend who was contacting me about planning our high school reunion to make me realize something very substantial in my life at that point:  I never laughed anymore.  And I never smiled.

I was a very outgoing and social person my whole life; what had so drastically changed that I was no longer that person?  My marriage.  My life with him of being ignored, not included, expected to do whatever he wanted me to do, and never speaking up about what I wanted in order to avoid the consequences of, well, him.

Do I take some ownership in this transformation of me?  You bet.  But when you get to the point that you so cautiously preface almost every sentence to your husband with a “Please don’t say No yet, but I was thinking about doing X…” because you have already spent so many years being told No every time you opened your mouth, you naturally start to transform.  Sadly, it’s easy to morph into the meek, agreeable, non-confrontational, non-opinionated, shell of a person that a narcissist can so easily turn you in to.

It was early spring, and although that light bulb of realization was starting to slightly illuminate, I had no idea of the land-mine I was about to step into when I scheduled my first “real” counseling appointment and told the Ex-N about it.

His reaction?

“Well, counseling equals divorce, so we already know where this brilliant idea of yours is headed…”

In the weeks ahead I filed for divorce. Twice.  I stepped into a land-mind along side a raging narcissist that was bigger than I would ever have know.  But in doing so, I took the very first step in finding “me” again too.  It’s been a very long and challenging six-year road, still going strong.  It’s been worth every evolving step along the way.

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

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

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

 

~LLS~ Lucy K.

 

An Open Letter to Gwyneth Paltrow

An Open Letter to Gwyneth Paltrow

gwyneth-paltrowA Guest Blog by Teleah Grand

Dear Gwyneth Paltrow,

This is a letter to you from the trenches. You know, The trenches where you think you live; but in reality have never been near, much less in. I am a single mother of two. Working when my children were little and I was married, was somewhat of a choice because, with sacrifice, we could have gotten along with only my husbands salary. Not easily, mind you, but we could have done it…. I worked hard on earning a doctorate in veterinary medicine and felt the call to work and better myself in my profession. So I made the choice, as have you, to work and raise children. I never complained about how hard it was, because it was my choice. Was it difficult, sure. Do I think you have any idea how difficult it was, no. I do not think you, with your many support personnel at your beck and call, have any idea how difficult it is to choose to work, run a household and raise children.

My job, however, soon became a necessity during and after the divorce to be able to properly care for myself and my children. To reiterate, working was not a choice but a necessity. I was actually one of the lucky ones that had the education and training to be able to support my children, again not easily, nor without sacrifice, without help. Imagine all the stay at home mothers out there who have to find “routine” jobs with no skills or education. I’m sure they have no choice but to accept the “routine” job they get. Yet, you state they have it so much “easier” than you. I think not.

I do not, as most women do not, have a 9-5 job. My job is 8-6 M,T,Th,F (with the occasional Wednesday thrown in), and 8-12 on Saturdays…. I sometimes work through lunch and even into the evenings and the weekend (as I like to call my Sunday off) as I frequently give my clients my cell phone number to call if they have any questions about their ill pets.

My job is not “routine”, most days are not filled with puppy and kitten visits (although the puppy and kitten visits are a lot of fun when they happen), but are instead filled with running tests, doing diagnostics, coming up with treatment plans, and doing surgery to try and save pet’s lives. Fortunately, for the most part, I can accomplish that. Sometimes, no medicine on earth can save a dying pet. So, quite a few of my days are filled with educating pet parents on their pet’s dire prognosis and helping them make end of life decisions. My work sometimes leaves me physically and emotionally exhausted. My work often leaves me financially exhausted, as well, since I am a sole practitioner and not only run my home but also run my business. Slow times happen in any business, and cause major stress when I have a responsibility to pay my employees before I can even think of paying myself. Yet my children and my staff need me so I am there for them, physically, emotionally, and financially. I do not compare myself to others and think that their jobs are easier than mine… Their jobs are simply different and can be just as physically, emotionally and financially draining as mine. I do not complain. I love and accept my choices and responsibility and work hard for the few things I, my children and my staff members have accomplished.

I do not, as most women do not, spend our day, working out, nor rehearsing, doing phone interviews, attending fittings, nor do I miss taking the children to school. If I didn’t take my children to school they would not get there. I do not, as most women do not, have the time, the energy, the assistance, nor the financial resources to have such luxuries. Add into that being a single mother means there is no one else to shoulder the burden. If we are lucky we can depend on friends or family. Hiring someone to help out, run errands, clean house, do laundry, maintain schedules, pay bills, grocery shop, preparing meals, helping with homework, lawn care, home repairs, practice extracurricular activities with the children, read bedtime stories; is, not nor ever will be, an option. We shoulder the burden. We do it because we love our children. We do it because we do not have the extravagant financial resources to do otherwise. Our choices are between paying the electric bill and buying tires needed for the car to pass inspection, not between Louboutin’s or Jimmy Choo’s.

Ms Paltrow, as you “consciously uncouple” with your fancy attorneys, trainers, agents, assistants, and nannies, imagine the rest of the world who go through nasty, down and dirty, plain old divorces. Who have to represent themselves Pro Se because we cant afford an attorney. Imagine us working our “routine” jobs which are usually not in the slightest “routine”. Imagine us having to take a day off work without pay, that we can not afford to do, because we have a sick child. Imagine the rest of us divorced and divorcing women without help, without assistance and struggling without enough time in the day to get everything done…..Without enough money to pay the bills.

As you transition into single working motherhood, I dare you to live one week in my shoes. The ones I buy on sale at a discount shoe store; and only when I have to. Maybe if you walk a mile, you will stop saying such obtuse comments about “working mothers” and their “routine” jobs. We understand you are a working mother. We understand that your career entails certain responsibilities that we do not have. But you need to understand that we have responsibilities that you do not have. And comparing yourself to us, with your abundant resources and luxuries is, frankly, insulting. We would like you to identify with us as single working mothers and will applaud your efforts. But you need to understand the difference between you and the majority of single working mothers. We do not begrudge you or your lifestyle. We do, however, resent your unenlightened attitude. We do not appreciate you comparing your life to ours, nor complaining about it. You should, instead, be grateful and appreciative of the many resources you have available.

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The Bright Red Warning Flags Were Waving High all Around Me … But I Still Said “I-Do” to a Narcissist.

The Bright Red Warning Flags Were Waving High all Around Me … But I Still Said “I-Do” to a Narcissist.

red flagsby Lucy K. Wright

How can things change so drastically from when you make the promises you do at your wedding, to years later when you’ve been beaten to the ground so many times you don’t even know who you are anymore?  He first promised for better or for worse, and then he promised things would change and get better.  Neither promise was kept.  When you are dealing with someone who loves you when you “do things right” but who stops loving you when you don’t, then you are dealing with narcissistic love, which really isn’t anything like unconditional love at all.

Below is an excerpt from my personal journal, written just before filing for divorce the second time.  I didn’t have the courage or strength to go through with it the first time.  I started the process, but I got scared, really scared of him and what he might do.    But after the eight most difficult and frightening weeks of my life, I quickly learned that if I was going to take care of my kids, I needed to take care of myself first.  I somehow found the courage and strength to get out of the marriage I’d said Yes to twelve years prior.

  •  (LKW): “I am to the point where I am stressed and worried about everything I do because I know it will be wrong and I know my actions/thoughts/words/anything will come back to haunt me. I’m told over and over again each and every day how stupid and wrong I am.  I worry about going into stores and taking too long, or spending any money because “it’s not right” and I’m going to cause us to “go into financial ruin.”  I worry about my kids.  I worry about how I look to others, with my dark glasses hiding my swollen teary eyes.  When you’re told everything you do and say is wrong, you start to believe it.  I’ve been told that so many times it feels like a permanent tattoo on my brain.  I worry about who I can talk to on the phone or send emails to because that is all being monitored.  I don’t have friends anymore. I’m basically a prisoner in my own home and I’m always afraid.  I want to be the best mom I can for my kids but I can’t when I don’t know if I have the strength to survive the long days, and longer nights anymore.  I know I am NOT this person.  But I don’t know who I am anymore.  I want to smile again and be happy, and I don’t want to live like this.  I cannot live like this anymore, and neither can my kids.  It’s not okay and I need to do something about it.  I am the only one who can.”

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I met the N-Ex, introduced him to my parents three months later, and moved to another state with him two months after that. He was charming, witty and fun.  I thought I’d finally found someone stable who would provide some sanity in my life after all of the turbulent years with my father.

How wrong I was.

I had no idea during those beginning years that I’d actually met and was smitten with someone exactly like my father; and the road ahead of us, while looking bright and sunny in those early days, contained a lot of dark skies and one big rock-bottom sinkhole several years down the road.

—————————————————————–

My N-Ex was accepted to graduate school and I worked while he studied and continued his education.  I also took care of the apartment, paid the bills, did the shopping, kept myself in shape, and figured out how to keep the finances in-tact. I strived to be the perfect girlfriend.  I felt so lucky to be with him and to be paid such amorous attention for the first time in my life.  We spent lots of time together; to the point I was spending less and less with my own friends.  But that didn’t matter, he chose ME!

We were engaged after living together for about a year, and we planned to be married the next.  There was much debate about where we would have the wedding. My parents were divorced.  His parents were high up the social ladder in the one city they lived in for their entire lives. It was basically a given that the wedding would be in the N-Ex’s hometown, at the right church, with the right people attending, no questions asked.

I specifically asked my father NOT to bring his FF/wife to the city where we were getting married.  He did agree to walk me down the aisle, but I had not yet met the FF/affair-partner and was firm, or so I thought, in letting him politely know that this was not the venue for us to look each other in the eye and say hello for the first time.  I don’t know if he ever said he would not bring her.  I thought I was clear in my communication with him but I’m sure he used some of my words and twisted them in his favor; he did bring his FF to stay with him while in town for the wedding.  He is a narcissist; he does what he wants to do regardless of anyone else’s feelings, including his own daughter’s.

The N-Ex’s mother, who had memorized the entire Emily Post book of etiquette in order to be most socially proper for this event, actually invited my father, and his FF, to a special tour and dinner two nights before the wedding but did not tell me anything about it prior.   She had a very high-level knowledge of the situation between my father and his affair-partner.  She also knew how strongly I felt about not wanting the FF around at that point; but she felt it her social duty to invite them, and I guess my father and his FF felt it their social responsibility to oblige, without talking to me about it either.

The actual wedding and ceremony was a blur.  The Ex-In-Laws didn’t ever like my mom, and my father always blamed my mom and didn’t like her either, so they had a bond from the beginning in that regard. Plus my father had “M.D.” after his name, so it was socially acceptable for them to like him over her just because of the title alone.  There was drama, and fighting, and me crying at the end of the reception because I just couldn’t take the conflict anymore.  I should have wised up to that situation way back then and known that there were a lot of very bright crimson flags (obvious clues!) flying over my head with the N-Ex and his family very early on.  He never defended me, his new wife, during any of these new family spats.

We left right after the ceremony for our honeymoon.  We fought a lot.  He became quite critical of me and I heard how upset his parents were about hosting the not-absolutely-perfect wedding.  Most of it was, of course, my fault.  He talked to his parents several times a day during our honeymoon.  They blamed me and he blamed me.  I remember crying a lot and wondering what I was doing as it seemed more like a deep dark dream than a honeymoon.  Within a few days after getting back home the fighting got so bad I took my ring off and threw it at him.  It landed hard in the driveway and scratched.  It was a nice ring.  He was not happy.

Being on the receiving end of narcissistic love can make you feel like you need to try even harder. Yet at the same time, it can make you feel that no matter how hard you try, you find yourself walking on eggshells in fear of setting him into the next rage.

Something drastically starting changing within my N-Ex from the time we met to after the wedding and honeymoon.  His confidence became arrogance.  His determination became being so strong-willed that he argued with me over little things that should never have mattered.  His self-assuredness made me feel insignificant.  And nothing I did seemed to be good enough anymore.

I started changing too.

I started losing my self-esteem, my self-confidence, and for the first time of many more years to come, I started losing ME.

~LLS~  Lucy K.

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

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

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