Divorcing a Narcissist: The $5 Challenge

Divorcing a Narcissist: The $5 Challenge

grassrootsby Tina Swithin

I never imagined that my own custody battle would have an affect on the rest of my life. My children are safe after a hellish 4.5 year custody battle but thousands and thousands of children are not safe. The Judge on my case finally saw through my ex-husband, Seth, but there are many, many Judges who have not seen the light. In fact, the vast majority of Judges are somehow, still clueless when it comes to Cluster B personality disorders.

My goal is to create change through education. One Mom’s Battle has recently acquired non-profit status and our amazing grassroots movement has a platform that currently reaches all corners of the world. It would have been very easy for me to walk away from this cause when my battle ended on July 10, 2013 but I could not do that. There are too many warrior moms and dads who are fighting to give their children a voice.

I need your help. 

The One Mom’s Battle blog averages about 35,000 views per month and our Facebook page has over 10,000 followers.

If each person who follows our blog or “liked” our Facebook page donated $5, just imagine the impact we could make on the Family Court System. This grassroots movement has already accomplished so much. Imagine what we can do together as a non-profit organization. 

I ask each of you to donate just FIVE DOLLARS.

Together, we can do SO much!  Click here to donate your five dollars!

Thank you so much- in advance.  #ittakesavillage

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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 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 Pattern: Roses – Yelling – Roses – Yelling – Roses – Yelling – Roses

The Pattern: Roses – Yelling – Roses – Yelling – Roses – Yelling – Roses

rosesby Lucy K. Wright

Less than 24 hours after I called off our divorce, after being told that “things would change,” he promised, life was back to the same exact living hell I had already been experiencing. Only this time, he felt more powerful than ever because he had just convinced me to remain loyal to him, try, and stay in our marriage.

There were numerous counseling sessions. I went to some sessions alone, we went to some together.   He was still very angry underneath his shell of appearing to others as being the happy-go-lucky and charming guy he wanted the outside world to see. That was the persona portrayed to everyone but me. In our home was a scene almost unbearable. There were many threats made that he would “call his attorney” if I didn’t behave and do what he wanted. He would get out his phone and pretend he was dialing. He was authoritative and very good with his convincing manipulative ways.  I never knew if he was actually dialing or not, but he got the fear and submissive behavior out of me exactly as he wanted.

We had a heated argument one night after the kids were asleep. He pushed and pushed me on needing “emotional and physical intimacy.” Holding back the tears as best as I could, I told him I could not give him that right now. I could feel the increased anger the moment those words left my mouth. The discussion became more contentious. When he didn’t get the reaction he wanted, he resorted to this:

“Bad mom. Bad mom. Bad mom. Bad mom.  You. Are. Such. A. Bad. Mom.”

He said it over and over and over again.

Of everything ugly he ever called me, those words stung the most, and he knew it.

I ended up slugging him in the arm, very lightly, as a last resort to try and get him to stop saying those words.

Big mistake.

“That’s it. That was just what I wanted you to do. You hit me, and now you are going to jail.”

He said he was calling 911. I said I was sorry and begged him not to. He dialed 911, and then he hung up. When dispatch called our number back to make sure everything was ok, he told them “his four-year-old was playing with the phone and called them by mistake.” It was well past 10pm, not a time when a four-year-old would typically be awake.

He spent the next 20 minutes, before the officers arrived at our home, standing over me as I sat paralyzed in a chair, in hysteric tears, not knowing what had just happened. He screamed at me, telling me how I cost him his promotion at work, how I was having a midlife crises and ruining his life, how everything was my fault, and how he couldn’t wait until the kids turned 18 so he could tell them that their mom had an affair.

What?

An affair. I was basically held captive in our home, never let out of his sight, carefully preserving all of the energy I had each day to simply survive. I looked worn and exhausted, wearing sunglasses inside and outside to lessen the view of my always puffy and swollen eyes. An affair? There was no way.

The police arrived. One officer talked with me. The other toured the home with the ExN, and found the kids soundly asleep in their beds. After about a half an hour they said they could take someone to jail – me – but that they weren’t going to. They did say that since they had been called to our home twice already, if there was a third time, someone would be taken away.

The pattern of the next few weeks went like this: 48 hours of yelling and screaming, then, he showed up with a big display of red roses. It was like clockwork.

I felt like I was going crazy.

And I can’t help but have flashbacks when I see big bouquets of red roses, even this many years later.

~LLS~ Lucy K. Wright

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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 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: Snap, Crackle, Pop! Father’s Day Craziness

The Narc Decoder: Snap, Crackle, Pop! Father’s Day Craziness

narc decoderby Tina Swithin

Why do I waste blog-space on Seth at this point in time? He has been gone from our lives for almost a full year.

Good question.

I am sharing my latest email from him NOT to give him the spotlight but because the Narc Decoder blogs are the most popular. I believe reading the pure craziness helps people to feel less alone. By sharing Seth’s bizarre rants, I am able to teach people who are new to this battle how to communicate and decode the sheer insanity that only a Cluster B person can provide.

I highly encourage you to take your power back. Turn alerts off on your phone if those alerts notify you of an email from your ex. Only open emails when you are centered, focused and in control. I knew that Seth would be emailing due to the Father’s Day weekend. I know he is escalated because my brave 9-year old warrior, Piper, has set boundaries with him. She has refused his calls since April and while in therapy, wrote him a letter straight from her heart. She is hurt and angry. It was eloquent and powerful. I sent him the letter and he of course, took what he wanted from it and refused to accept a quarter ounce of responsibility. Of course, it is all my fault.

Tonight I opened an email from Seth which promptly went into the Narc Decoder.

Tina,

Given that it is Father’s Day this weekend, I would like to see the girls at a place of your choosing for any interval of time. It’s absolutely tragic that (Commissioner) and (Evaluator) decided it was appropriate to oust me completely from Piper and Sarah’s lives because in the company of my parents on 111 degree day I enjoyed a beer.

Every restaurant you go to, you see parents enjoying wine or beer with their children present. You know this is the case and you know you drink wine in front of the children often. It is absolutely unusual and unfair punishment not only for me but for the girls that because of this the daughters no longer can have a normal relationship or any with their father.

On another note, I work my ass off to keep my job and my career. It is incumbent upon you to tell the girls that I provide enough money to you to cover rent, food, clothing and activities for my daughters. They do not seem to be aware of this.

You have won with the Commissioner. I used to say, back in 2010, that this divorce process has had almost no emotional effects on Piper and Sarah to people. The girls understood you had boyfriend and I was their Dad. Now it is clear that Piper in particular is going to have severe emotional scars from her loss of her father.

Tina, you grew up with a biological mother who had mental illness. Had your father not taken you tïo California from Illinois, she might have kidnapped you and you may not be alive had he not raised you away from your mother. What we are dealing with here is a very, very different situation. I drink high quality beer or wine as little or as much as my other friends who are parents, professionals and had working people. I do not drink every day. I exercise 2-3 hours every day sometimes 5-6 hours a day.

I am not some evil, monster as you describe me in your blog. I may have been taken by success and wanted to earn more and more money. But, that is my personality, to try to be the best in my field. It is time that you turn the mirror on you and realize that the damage this divorce has caused me has now been magnified on our daughters.

I disagree completely with the Commissioner’s punitive measures against me. I could understand if I smoked pot or did drugs to require supervised visits but he clearly hates me and you know this. Thus, you dragged me in front of him 30 times until he snapped on me permanently. He was sick and tired of seeing us and I do not blame him. This was all you. You constantly harassed me with court hearings in the middle of my work week. You cost me jobs because of this Tina.

All I wanted was to spend one week a month with Piper and Sarah. The custody evaluation buried me. Now, the daughters are in emotional turmoil.

I would really like to see the girls please. Even if we see them at the Children’s Museum and you’re there. I don’t really care. I just want to see them. 

Thank you for your consideration, Seth

As Seth’s email comes out of the Narc Decoder, I hear, “Snap. Crackle. Pop.” Yawn. Silly narcissist. You have zero effect on me anymore.

Here is the decoder version of Seth’s email:

Tina,

Given that it is Father’s Day, I feel entitled to see MY daughters. MY possessions. You know, the ones that I haven’t seen in 11 months? Seeing them on Father’s Day would certainly boost my ego and I would be able to report back to my mommy that I am a good son who cares so much about my children. Using phrases like, “intervals of time” makes me feel important. Do I sound important to you?

I think it’s completely tragic that the court saw through me. How dare they have an issue with the fact that I drank alcohol against court orders in a bar with MY possessions. Tragic. It was premium beer for God’s sake. I should receive some slack for the fact that I don’t drink the same beer that lower life forms consume. It was PREMIUM beer, Tina. Can you grab me a beer while I sit here and project my alcohol issues on you? I know you drink wine and I don’t think it’s fair that you don’t have DUIs, Drunk in Publics and Wet n Reckless charges on your record. You probably do…you probably slept with the police officers to get away with it all!  Damn you!

I am going to ignore the fact that in addition to the violation of court orders, there was a 43-page report that could make Cyndi Lauper bust into song…”I see your true colors shining through….your true colors…..”

Can you please make the girls aware of the child support that I pay? Have them send me a thank you card in the morning because they would not be able to enjoy cereal if it weren’t for me. You are all so ungrateful. Everything you have is technically mine. Did you know that? You should send me a thank you card also.

I saw the letter Piper wrote. Since when has she been allowed to set boundaries and express feelings? That’s just weird. Make her stop immediately.

This is the part where I remind you of your dysfunctional childhood. I do this in an effort to make you feel bad and in turn, make myself feel better. Do you feel bad? Is it working?  Did I mention that I drink high-quality beer?  I do so there!

I am the evil monster that you portray me to be in your blog. How dare you tell the truth about me. It literally eats me alive. Can you please turn the mirror on yourself and realize what you have done? Enough already! Give me the mirror back so I can see myself again!

I disagree with the measures the court took to hold me accountable for my behavior. How dare they do this to me! I don’t do drugs. I drink premium beer. I am not a looser. My mom said I was perfect. This was all your fault for telling them the truth about me. I believe the distorted version of reality that I have spun in my head and so should you. So should the courts. You constantly held me accountable for my behavior. How dare you!

Now that I am finished telling you what a cold, evil person you are, can we just put this all behind us and forget the 4 year custody battle? I’d love for you to violate court orders this weekend by bringing the girls to the museum so that I can pretend to be a dad on Father’s Day. Sound good to you?  Thank you for your consideration – 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? 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.

I Filed for Divorce From a Narcissist, Twice. Too Afraid the First Time. Never Looked Back the Second.

I Filed for Divorce From a Narcissist, Twice. Too Afraid the First Time. Never Looked Back the Second.

Filing-for-Divorceby Lucy K. Wright

I filed for divorce early in the summer. That turned out to be Round One. I had no idea I was going to have to carry divorce paperwork home myself and present it to the ExN. I was afraid of him. But I felt my first inkling of independence in a long time, having that paperwork in my hand. I made sure the kids were both at play-dates when I approached him to talk.

I told him I wanted a divorce.

He didn’t react much. He studied and analyzed the paperwork, called me a few names and left. It was quiet for a few days after that; I had no idea what he was thinking or what he might do.

It didn’t take very long for him to convince me that “I didn’t want a divorce.” Since I was used to being told what to do and what I wanted for so many years prior, I actually listened to him and his reasoning. Looking back I was such a fool. But being a fool and believing him was all I knew how to be during that time of my life. While married to him I managed to lose my self and my entire being. I had no idea how to think independently anymore let alone have an opinion that was actually mine.

So I listened. He told me he started seeing another counselor for himself. He suggested we see this person together; and we quickly engaged with our third marriage counselor. In the blink of an eye I agreed to “try” with this new counselor, make amends, and then, just a few weeks after I had officially filed for divorce, I agreed to stop the filings and “continue” with the marriage. He promised me the world. He promised me things would change. And I believed him, again.

I called my lawyer and informed her I wanted to cancel the divorce proceedings. I told her I agreed to try counseling and try, really try, because he assured me he was going to try also. We were going to give the marriage another shot, especially for the kids.

I remember my lawyer telling me it was “admirable” of me to try more counseling.

She also verbalized several reminders of the conversation I originally had with her just a few weeks earlier: he put spy-wear on my computer; he blocked my phone number for most incoming and outbound calls; he took my clothes because I didn’t deserve them; he called the police; he threatened to take the kids; threatened to move us to a new state overnight; I felt like a prisoner in our own home; how afraid of him in general I was, and how much I worried about our kids.

My lawyer recommended putting the divorce “on hold” but keeping the paperwork in the system “just in case,” since getting a new court date would be several months out. I firmly told her I did not think I would be putting forth an honest effort in trying to save the marriage if I had the divorce “on hold.” I asked her to please cancel the process.

I had no idea what I was about to embark upon during the next eight horrific weeks of my life after that seemingly simple request.

Yes, I agreed to cancel the divorce, naively believing him that “things would change.” Always holding on to that tiny little bit of hope… that “this time” it will be better.

Eight weeks later I filed for divorce again.

Round Two: I had to get a Restraining Order because I was more afraid of him then I’d ever been before.

~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 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: Finding my Life Mission

Divorcing a Narcissist: Finding my Life Mission

purposeby Tina Swithin

I plopped down on a therapist’s couch for the first time when I was in my early 20’s. That visit was prompted by a severely dysfunctional relationship that thankfully, came to an end. One of the first goals I set with the therapist was to sort through my baggage and make healthier relationship decisions moving forward. More than anything, I wanted to avoid sitting in a therapist’s office at the age of 35. I even verbalized this fear to my therapist.

Fast forward to 2009 and as a 35-year old woman, I found myself sitting on yet another therapist’s couch. My worst fear had come to fruition. After a 10 year relationship to the man I originally thought was Prince Charming, I was in the fight of my life trying to protect my two young daughters in a custody battle that garnered international media attention. The wise relationship choice that I believed I was making turned out to be a marriage that was shiny and pretty on the outside but cold, dark and ugly on the inside. Unbeknownst to me, I had married a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

During my 4-year custody battle, I acted as my own attorney and endured the following:

  • Over thirty court dates consisting of both trials and hearings.
  • Two full custody evaluations.
  • Six-hundred plus hours devoted to trial and hearing preparation, research, documentation and court dates.
  • Twelve police reports ranging from violations of the court orders to the more severe such as breaking into my home.
  • Three investigations by Child Welfare Services which ultimately determined my ex-husband to be a “moderate risk” yet did nothing to help my children.

In July of 2013, my custody battle came to an end when I secured professionally supervised visits and ultimately, my daughter’s safety. To say that I felt a sense of relief may be the understatement of the century. All of the sleepless nights, the tears, the fear and the anxiety came to a screeching halt with one final strike of the Judge’s gavel.

Looking back, I have every right to be angry at the system that failed my children for so long. I could throw rocks at the sky and ask what I did to deserve this life altering battle. I’ve could continue to feed and nourish my anger which would ensure that the anger would thrive and leave me consumed by bitterness for the rest of my life or, I could choose a different path.

As I approach my 40th birthday and reflect on the advice that I’ve picked up over the years, I’ve always held onto a quote that made sense but I couldn’t find the connection in my life until recently: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius. Some people have light bulb moments and others, like me, have brief and sporadic flashes of light similar to what happens when a boat is searching for a lighthouse on a foggy night. Once the light cuts through the fog, the ride to shore is smooth.

This battle has changed my life in more ways than I ever thought possible. This battle has become my life because it’s given me the ability to help others by sharing my story of perseverance and providing hope. I have taken my experiences and turned them into a blog, books and now, my life passion which is to coach other parents who find themselves facing a narcissist in the uneducated Family Court System. I have taken the maps and the tools that I used to navigate the choppy waters of a high conflict divorce and I teach others to do the same.

One thing that I have learned during this battle is to lean on my faith and accept that everything does happen for a reason. Trusting that I was placed on this path to help others has been life changing. Instead of being angry and bitter, I have made the choice to take the lemons that were handed to me and to whip up a huge batch of lemonade for those who are on the battlefield of the Family Court System. I believe that there is purpose to my pain and I am using the knowledge that I’ve gained in an effort to help others.

If you are in the trenches and fighting for your children, my message for you is to never give up. I have personally witnessed the most dire cases turn completely around. I am inspired daily by the warrior parents that I meet and I am encouraged by their stories. I will continue to work diligently to bring awareness to Narcissistic Personality Disorder and its affect on the Family Court System. I hope you will join me by speaking up and sharing you story whenever you are afforded the opportunity. Have faith that everything is happening for a reason and while you may not understand the reason now, it will make sense to you one day. Together, we can work to highlight the issues that are so pervasive in the Family Court System.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  -Margaret Mead  

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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 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 Narcissistic Damage: Repair Your Foundation

The Narcissistic Damage: Repair Your Foundation

collegeby Tina Swithin

For the most part, I stand on pretty solid ground. Just a few years ago, my foundation was cracked and unstable. Through education on NPD, sharing my story and hearing so many of your stories, I have repaired the cracks and rebuilt my life. Every once in a while, a “blast from the past” otherwise known as that damn Narc voice is whispering to me in the background and throws me off a bit.

Back in 2001 when I was dating Seth, he obsessed on the fact that I didn’t have a college degree and reminded me of this fact often. I allowed him to make me feel inferior. I was an entrepreneur by nature and had taken the business classes that I needed from our community college. I didn’t feel that I needed to obtain a degree to do what was doing. From there, I proceeded to create several (successful) small companies. While I was proud of my accomplishments, I often felt judged and finally decided to enroll in college to gain Seth’s approval.

I did a full year in college before Seth and I started a new business together and because of the work demands, he told me to hold off on enrolling for the fall/2002 semester. At the time, I was thrilled to step away from college for many reasons. Looking back, I was in college for all the wrong reasons. I was trying to please Seth and gain his family’s approval. I didn’t have a clear direction or passion in college, I was just going through the motions and feeling criticized at every turn.

Fast-forward twelve years and here I am. My career has taken a direction that I never planned and I feel college calling my name but for all the right reasons this time. This week, I enrolled in the fall semester of my local college with the hopes of transferring to Cal Poly to major in Psychology. In this process, I needed to order my transcripts from the Bay Area college that I attended. Sounds easy, right?

This is where that damn doubt comes in. My memory of college consists of stress and criticism. I didn’t have the proper study habits or discipline to succeed according to Seth so he insisted that I take a course on how to study effectively. He reminded me often that I needed his help. He came to my counseling appointments and micro-managed every move that I made. He dictated whether I changed from the option of a grade to credit/no credit as he didn’t want my GPA affected by a B or a C grade. Those grades were simply unacceptable.

I ordered my transcripts last week and then the doubt really set in. I remember being proud of myself but much of that time period was a blur so I was afraid to open the transcripts when they came yesterday. I almost laughed out loud when I saw the transcripts. I left with a 4.0 overall GPA.  Geeze — I’m such a failure!  :)

Don’t let those voices creep in. Lock them out. If they try to sneak in then repeat an affirmation that puts you right back on a positive track. The narcissist does not deserve an ounce of your time or mind space! Did I mention that I am going to start college?  Wooo hoooo!!!!  :)

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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 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: 11 Months Post Seth

Divorcing a Narcissist: 11 Months Post Seth

narc decoderby Tina Swithin

As I sit here typing, I can hear my daughter’s phone ringing in the background as it does every Monday night. Tonight is Seth’s night to call the girls however, for the past five weeks, they have refused to talk to him. They can’t really verbalize why they’ve decided to go on strike and ignore his calls, they simply say that they don’t want to talk to him. I’ve reached out to my daughters’ therapist and was told not to force the calls. Now MY phone is ringing and before I know it, there may be a new text assault launched with fresh new accusations of parental alienation syndrome.

As many of you know, last July, I was successful in obtaining a final custody order for supervised visits after a 6-month long parenting evaluation validated everything that I had been saying for 4.5 years. I knew leaving the courtroom on July 10, 2013 that we would not see Seth for a very long time. His ego can not handle supervised visits and as predicted, we are coming up on eleven months without seeing Seth.

When Seth’s visits ended, a lot of other things ended. The girls’ nightmares came to a screeching halt. My youngest daughter’s daytime, anxiety filled potty accidents ceased within two weeks. Soon after the visits ended, my daughter’s therapist met a new child who seemed to emerge from a stress-filled cocoon and morph into a more confident, silly little butterfly. We also found peace and discovered what childhood should look like outside the confines of a high-conflict custody battle.

Last Monday night after the girls declined Seth’s calls repeatedly, I received a series of text messages from Seth such as this one:

“You’ve blocked me from contact with my daughters. I can’t text (them). You won’t let me talk to them.  I don’t have enough money left after all you get (child support) to travel, pay for overnights and pay a third party. How about I go to counseling with them? This is tragic for their little minds and hearts. Read what you’ve done. It’s clear and evident from everyone I have discussed this with. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_alienation_syndrome

The texts continued through the night:

“And you think it’s healthy for Piper and Sarah to be cut off from their dad? If you care, share this video with them, Tina. This is the last weekend they saw me.”

“I guarantee you they miss me all the time. You can reverse the damage you have done.”

Out comes the Narc Decoder:

“I have chosen to blow my $7,000 per month salary on bars and alcohol versus spending money to rent a car and hire a supervisor to visit the girls. You are probably wondering why I don’t have car any longer? It got repossessed because I refuse to live within my means. You have to understand how difficult it is to impress the ladies without a car.

I am hoping that you will forget that huge episode last year when I wanted to meet with Piper and her therapist — I know that Piper doesn’t want me to attend therapy with her but since when have I ever cared what the girls want? Oh and by the way, I’ve recently started diagnosing by Wikapedia and according to my thorough research, you have a disorder that causes you to protect our children from abuse. Damn you. 

Do you think its really healthy for the girls to live a peaceful, normal childhood far away from my superior genes and influence? Without me in their lives, they are going to grow up to be below average just like you. Please share this video with them. This video is the last weekend that I spent with them. To refresh your memory, this is the weekend that I took them to a bar and drank alcohol against court orders. After that fun little episode, I put them in the car and drove them with alcohol in my system because I am really that arrogant and as we all know, court orders do not apply to me. Court orders are for the regular members of society – not men like me. This was also the weekend my parents were visiting. In this video, you will see my stellar performance that I refer to as, “Tales of Super Dad.” I was putting on my best performance in this particular episode because my mom, Cleo, was filming and I’m still trying to convince her that I am normal. She captured my normalcy on tape!  Further proof that you are lying about me! Ha!

I guarantee that the girls miss me. How could they not?! I mean, after all….I lie to them, physically hurt them, emotionally abuse them. What is NOT to miss with this stellar McDaddy package? You can reverse the damage that you’ve done (to ME) by letting bygones be bygones and just forgetting about the past five years. You’ve always been one to hold grudges…very sad and pathetic if you ask me.”   

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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.

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.