Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield

Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield

Front Cover PDFby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monroe County New York: CPS Failure

Monroe County New York: CPS Failure

stopDear New York,

Monroe County CPS is failing to protect children. Erie County is under the microscope because of the death of little Eian Brooks. I hope I am not the first to point out that you have this all backwards. You are supposed to act to prevent deaths and child abuse but sadly, you wait until a child is tortured and dies before you examine your policies and staff members.

I have been following a specific case in Monroe County for quite some time. I feel this mother’s pain even though we’ve never officially met. She is in New York and I am in California. We are separated by thousands of miles but united by cell phone as I anxiously await text messages from her on the weekends that her son is with his abuser. I am relieved to hear that she’s spoken with her son because that means he is still alive. I am even more relieved when she sends me a message to let me know that he is back in her car after a visit with his father.

His father is supposed to love him but he doesn’t. He tortures him. There is an army of people documenting this abuse and currently, there are 14 CPS reports filed with Monroe County…two of them are still open and active cases. These have been filed by mandated reporters. I have viewed photos of the bruises and I have even personally reached out to Deborah Rosen, Director of Monroe County CPS to no avail. This mother is a true Warrior by every definition of the word. She has taken this to the Governor and she’s even taken it to President Obama.  She is sent in circles….being pushed from one agency to another.

Someone needs to protect this child and many others who are suffering at the hands of this inept agency. The documentation on this case is mind-blowing. I have reviewed it and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is a complete failure of the system.

This is a small snippet into the life of this mother and child as published on the Stop Abuse Campaign.

by Anonymous Warrior Mom

It is a typical Monday morning as I get my son ready for school, having his clothes all laid out the evening before.  I get him out of bed to get him dressed as I do every morning. My little blonde haired son, big blue eyes, trying to fight back the tears, shakes his head “No mommy, I don’t want to wear that shirt today to school.”

“It is your favorite shirt, Spider Man.”

“No mommy.”

 He goes over to his dresser to pull out a long sleeve shirt and hands it to me as his eyes fill up with tears.  I have seen that look so many Monday mornings. The routine has become too familiar.

As I slowly take his shirt off, our eyes fixed on each other, both fighting back the tears that are welling up in our eyes, trying to hide the bruises. Bruises that he got on his weekend visit with someone that is supposed to love him.  Without him saying one word to me, I know where those bruises came from.  They are all over his little body, some big, some small.  As I finish getting him dressed, he gives me a big hug and whispers in my ear, “thank you mommy.  Now no one will see my boo boos.”

I give him a big hug and say “I love you.”

This is what I think of when I read about the Kansas “spanking bill” 2699. This is what I think about when I read anything that normalizes or endorses corporal punishment. As long is corporal punishment against children is used, it will be over-used. The state officials who I’ve turned to in order to protect my son have told me again and again “corporal punishment is legal in New York.” What is considered “excessive” is a matter of opinion.

It’s the State’s opinion.

It’s my son.

And he’s hurt.

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

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

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

Divorcing a Narcissist: A Blessed Life

Divorcing a Narcissist: A Blessed Life

Oh-So-Gratefulby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am blessed and I am thankful.

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

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

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

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

 

 

Lucy K. Wright: The Day my Father Drove Away

Lucy K. Wright: The Day my Father Drove Away

Moving-truckThe day my youngest sister turned 16 was the day my father pulled up to the driveway of our home in a moving van.  He loaded up his stuff from a marriage and family life of 23 years, and in the blink of an eye, he was gone.

Poof.  Gone.

He apparently had been planning this move for several months.  The biggest thing he conveniently forgot to do was tell my mom, or anyone else in the family, that he was leaving.

People with a borderline personality don’t have empathy for others in these types of situations.  Why?  Because in this situation for example, we, the family, were placed in a category of “non-person” and our existence no longer mattered.  What distinguishes a narcissist, like my father, in this type of situation is a prevalent self-centeredness and sense of entitlement.*  Ask my father today why he felt he could pull up in a moving van and disappear from his life with no further consideration of his family; he will fully justify his actions by saying 1) his wife was a “poor communicator,” and never made him happy, and 2) he “asked” his then 16-year-old daughter if he could leave and “she said yes.”  Never-mind she was sixteen, knew nothing about what was really going on, or why any of this was happening, but by putting the onus of his decision on her, none of the responsibility was his.

It was mentally traumatic, and nearly impossible for those of us left behind to understand:  one day my father was at home, the next day he suddenly departed to start a new life all by himself.  My middle sister was in cahoots with him during that time.  She unexpectedly arrived home from college and secretly helped our father leave town, taking some items that did not belong to her from our home, and then driving away with him in route to his new residence a few states away.  She was doing what she thought she needed to do to appease him at that time, acting out against and hurting our mom in the process. She was only 18 and had grown up our father’s favorite.  She was the “Brain”, the only daughter our father thought was smart enough to succeed in life and possibly follow in his medical-field footsteps.  (To this day, she has no relationship with our father.  She has spent her adult years working through gaining back her own sense of self-worth after so many years of trying to please him.)

In the months preceding the move, my father had arranged to become a partner in a medical practice and found a home to rent in the small new community he was joining all by himself.   I wonder what he told the folks there when they inquired about his life, his family, finding a home…did he tell them about us?  About the wife and kids he was leaving behind?  What we did not know until a few years later was that he also was going to settle in and cohabitate with his female friend (FF) in this new town, the one he had an affair with the entire time he was married to my mom.  The FF lived several states away, and was married with children also, but none of that seemed to matter in their exciting secretive planning of this new life adventure.

During the years before I knew FF was living with my father, I was experiencing a time of great transition in my own life.  I initially attended college for two years right after high school, and those were the most out of control two years I have ever experienced in my life.  I drank a lot.  It was the typical what-you-do-in-college, new sorority girl expectation maybe, but my behaviors were extreme, I just didn’t know how extreme.  I was also bulimic.  I was going to school, trying to figure out “me” for the first time in my life finally being away from the toxic situation at my home, worried about my sisters, concerned about my mom, and waiting…waiting…. waiting for my father to tell us what was going on. I managed to get to classes and keep my grades satisfactory, but with all of the stress and pressure in my life, my excessive drinking and bulimia became the only two things I thought I had control over.  Somehow I sustained that very destructive lifestyle for a few years.  I was very (very) lucky after a wake-up call from my best friend who had to call the paramedics because of me being really stupid one night and consuming more alcohol than my body could handle.  Looking back, this was the beginning of the first life rock bottom I hit.  I knew I was falling apart but luckily still had enough common sense to get some help and I did.

———————–

I first knew about my father’s FF when I discovered love letters written between the two of them on the day I graduated from high school.  I kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the day that HE would tell ME about her.  I kept so much bottled up inside waiting for him to talk to me, and to be a father.  I thought he would tell us, should tell us.  After all, he had the affair, he abandoned our family; he made these choices so shouldn’t he be the one to tell us about his FF and why he moved away?

You would think so, but I am the daughter of a narcissist.  And as we know, narcissists are always right, their actions are always justified, and they are perfect just the way they are.

He never told us.  I had to make a choice to start rebuilding my life, and one day I became strong enough to ask him myself.

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

Divorcing a Narcissist: Phone Calls from Seth

Divorcing a Narcissist: Phone Calls from Seth

Bizarro_Logoby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

“Where?” Piper asks him.

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

“What kind?”  Piper asks him

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

The girls both stare at the phone confused.

“That’s what we have” says Piper

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

“Yes” the girls respond.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Lucy K. Wright: The Images that Linger

Lucy K. Wright: The Images that Linger

6a00d8341c652b53ef017c36fb2cec970b-800wiby Lucy K. Wright

You know those images that stay in your memory…forever…

Some of them are beautiful and priceless – the moment your newborn baby is placed on your chest for you to see and touch and hold for the very first time, the moment you realize you have never known love like that before, ever.  And a few years later when your child smiles at you or gives you a kiss and hug just because you are Mom, and during those moments there is nothing more that matters in this world.   Images of family, friends, happiness; the images we want to stay in our minds always.

……….

My father hardly spoke to my mom the last few years they were together.  Actually he rarely spoke to her. Ever. He hardly spoke to my youngest sister who was the only one left at home when my mom found out about my father’s affair.  He spent an incessant amount of time during the latter years of the marriage “at work.”  Sure, he was physically at his office, during the days, on weekends, late into the nights; but emotionally and mentally, he was several states away.

It was a small town so people knew things and talked a lot; what they didn’t know, they gossiped about or made up.  Everyone knew everyone, and my father’s hurtful secret shenanigans were bound to catch up with him.  They did.

The postman was chatting with my mom one day and told her the payment for her PO Box at the post office was due, and if she wanted he could just take a check to drop off for her that day.  In a small town people help each other and do things like that.  (As a side note, so you know something about my always-smiling mom who was married to my Narcissistic father for so many years, my mom’s friend used to call her the “happiest unhappy person she had ever met.”)   My mom had never owned a post office box, nor did she know why one might exist in her name.  But in not missing a beat in being the happiest unhappy person she was, my mom put on her smile and said something back to the postman along the lines of thank you, but that she had to run errands and would just take the check to the post office herself.

That innocent chat with the postman turned out to be the beginning of discovery for my mom; discovery of a committed and faithful wife’s worst nightmare.

My mom went to the post office and convinced the clerk she had misplaced her key to the box.  Being a small town, and having the same last name on the box as my father, she got a key and opened the box.  She quickly found my father’s long hours were spent writing and talking to his once college girlfriend, and that this woman and my father, although both married with children and many years past college days, kept in contact all the years my mom was married to my father.  My father and his, um, female friend, were planning to marry at one point in college but that never happened.  I understand old college friends staying in touch every so often throughout the years of life, but this relationship went well beyond a holiday card family update or occasional happy birthday wish.  After my mom first discovered this female friend was still lingering around after countless years, many additional “clues” started to surface – like the phone bills, and flower receipts, and the specially mailed packages containing small gifts to her, the PO box that had been rented for several years, and the tape recordings found documenting their long talks together.

If you ever ask my father, even to this very day, anything about what anyone else except him would call his 22-year “affair,” he will poignantly tell you it was all my mom’s fault.  Of course it was.  My father took no ownership for his infidelities, even if only emotional and mental to start with (he and his female friend are now married).  He told us girls growing up that our mom was a “poor communicator,” he did not love her, and that she was not a good wife.  He told this to his daughters, about our own mother. He eventually told us years later that this female friend was the only person he had ever been able to talk to in life and that they had always been sole-mates.  The major unforgiveable mistake he made was keeping this female friend intertwined with our lives:  as a family, the life he had with his wife, and the life he had with his kids.

Towards the end of their marriage, when I was home visiting from college one weekend, I walked into my parents’ room early one morning and saw an image I will never forget.  My father, wrapped up in a sleeping bag, asleep on the floor of the bathroom.  It was terribly pathetic to see him like that, for no other reason than he didn’t want to share a bed any longer with my mom, and for no other reason than he didn’t have the courage as a man, husband and father to show enough respect towards any of us and just leave.  My sisters called me several times a week when I was away at school to share their horror stories with me, of my parents fighting when my father was actually at home, and how bad the living arrangements had become.  I don’t know if they knew of my father sleeping in the bathroom floor or not, but I have no doubt they have their own unique images that haunt their minds from childhood during that time.

When a therapist encourages the N-person-in-your-life to “look in the mirror and take some ownership for their own actions,” they don’t.  They don’t understand that because they don’t ever think they do anything wrong.  Everyone else does things wrong, they don’t, and they can justify why it’s not them a hundred million different ways.

We don’t know what images we have left in our kids’ minds during our own divorce processes, and post-divorce years when most of us continue to deal with the N’s of our lives who do not change.  Our kids will have their own memories of mom and dad together, some good, some bad, some fighting and yelling, or being silent, and of situations we remember much differently in our adult heads than they do just being children.  Some of those memories will be better understood by our kids when they are older and start to realize they have an N-parent; but just because the memories might be better understood, it doesn’t mean the memories will be erased from their minds.  I don’t think about my father in the bathroom floor everyday, but it is an image that will forever be in my head.

Focus on creating the happy images and memories with family and friends for your kids whenever you can.  They will remember some of the bad, but it is our jobs as strong warrior parents to help them be present with us, in our positive environments, and be by their sides to help create the good images that will linger in their young minds today, and always.

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

The Plight to Save Annie and her Sons

The Plight to Save Annie and her Sons

teddyby Tina Swithin

Many of you have stepped forward over the recent month to help Annie, a single mother facing jail time for doing what mothers were designed to do: protect their young. All assistance has been greatly appreciated whether it came in the form of a signature on Annie’s petition or a donation (large or small). The Family Court System is failing each and every day however, this case is a prime example of a Judge ruling with his ego versus what is in the best interest of the child. Judge Phillip Robinson of  Tennessee is about to throw a loving mother behind bars and send two small children to live with their father despite substantial evidence that he has abused these two little boys.

To read Annie’s story, click here: One Mom’s Battle: Annie Miller

I recently reached out to Annie for an update on her story and sadly, there is nothing positive to report.  Annie has come forward with an open letter to the men and women who have assisted her with prayers, positive thoughts and donations of any size. If you haven’t donated, please do and if you haven’t signed the petition, please do. I have personally read the court transcripts and believe that there is something very wrong happening in this courtroom.

A Note of Thanks from Annie Miller

I fail to believe there is a word gracious enough for all that has been done by kind people like you on behalf of my children.

Thank you.

Sadly- to this day, justice has not been served and I am still facing more jail time and will likely lose custody of my children. I still need your help to spread the word and help raise as much awareness as possible.

I am now facing more jail time and the potential loss of my children because I followed the advisement of Legal Counsel. I did not ignore the instructions of Judge Robinson- rather I followed the instructions of Wisconsin Counselors, Lawyers, and Judges who ordered me to keep my children in Wisconsin while the abuse investigations were on going. I have nothing to hide. I am simply protecting my children. I would have been in violation regardless of which court order I followed- the Wisconsin counselor’s recommendation to immediately suspend visitation with their father along with the Wisconsin court order to keep my children away from their father or Judge Robinson’s court order to turn my children over to their father. I assumed that the newer order from Wisconsin would be considered by Judge Robinson yet it was ignored and dismissed without an investigation of the current situation or the serious abuse allegations.

I realize this situation is complicated and I would like to share some facts since you’ve been kind enough to invest your time and money in my children and me. I encourage you to share these facts with as many of your friends and loved ones as possible.

  • Please click below to read the four-page letter from my Wisconsin attorney to Judge Robinson which will clarify some important facts and will help you understand my position and reasons for not bring the children to Tennessee. Judge Robinson has refused to read this letter even though the attorney testified to these facts via the court telephone.

Letter from Scott D. Metz (Family Law Attorney in Wisconsin- practicing for 32 years)

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  • I was allowed to move to Wisconsin in 2012 as a part of Judge Robinson’s court order.
  • In February 2013, a 3rd party (not me) reported concerns of child abuse – that were then investigated by Wisconsin Child Protective Services.
  • After the forensic investigation, Wisconsin Child Protective Services recommended that the father’s custody be suspended immediately due to their concerns about the safety of my children. This is the decision that prevented the children from being with their father during Spring Break of 2013. I was found guilty of criminal contempt by Judge Robinson for this even though the counselor testified to these facts via court telephone.
  • After reviewing documents from the Wisconsin abuse investigation and from the children’s counselor, a Wisconsin Judge signed a temporary restraining order against the child’s father therefore preventing me from bringing the children to Tennessee during the summer of 2013. I was advised that the abuse investigation should be concluded before the children could be in their father’s care. I was found guilty of criminal contempt by Judge Robinson for this as well.

Surprisingly, I still have faith in our judicial system however, I do believe that these situations would be better served by a jury of our peers rather than by someone who can take a position without being accountable for the consequences it has on the children that it directly affects. I followed the law, the legal advice and I followed my heart as a parent.

If you research what is happening in our family courts in regards to abuse and what happens when it is reported it is mind bending. If our family justice system serves to silence the voices of the very people it was designed to protect in order to validate the power of one, we all are in danger.

Read more on this at these 2 links:

Nancy Lee Grahn: Thoughts on Dylan Farrow 
One Mom’s Battle: Tina Swithin

Using the arms of the law for abuse is unacceptable. This has consequences (scary ones at that ) far beyond my family. Because if a parent follows the law, the advice of professionals (educated and government officials), attempts to co parent and stands with the truth yet faces losing their children and incarceration, our sons, our daughters, your wives, your mothers, your fathers and everyone is in danger of losing their voice.

Again I cannot express adequately how much your time and money (much of which came from people who are struggling themselves) and support means to us . Please have faith that some good will come of this, that my sons will have the integrity to move forward in this world with the voice you have given them to help others .

Namaste, Annie

Click to sign Annie’s Petition:http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/judge-places-mother-in

Click to donate to Annie’s legal fund: http://www.gofundme.com/682u68 

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

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

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

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: Be Your Own Valentine

Divorcing a Narcissist: Be Your Own Valentine

to meby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be YOUR Valentine.

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

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

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

 

Divorcing a Sociopath: Another Face of One Mom’s Battle

Divorcing a Sociopath: Another Face of One Mom’s Battle

mom child

Note from Tina: Through this battle, I have connected with some amazing men and women. Some I have connected with on a deep level — and their battle becomes my battle. Today’s guest blogger is someone whose battle  became my battle. This woman is like a sister to me- we met pre-battle and I have cheered her on every step of the way. Her little one is finally safe and because of that, my heart is happy.

Another Voice of One Mom’s Battle:

Have you ever felt truly desperate? Not the habitual yearning for that first cup of coffee in the morning type of desperate. Or the too stressed out, must have a glass of wine (now!) type either.

I mean the soul crushing, bring you to your knees desperation when your life as you know it is crashing down around you. That which confirms you are merely an actor in the pathetic, sadistic existence that is your life. That desperation. Are you feeling me now?

I have felt this way twice in my life. Many times I was at the end of my rope, no place to turn, with no honest means of digging myself out of a particular situation. But twice, I have been on my knees, ready to throw in the towel. To give up. Accept my fate, as long as it was better than the hell penetrating my heart and every ounce of my being.

I was married to a sociopath. The scary type. The type of husband that leaves knots in your stomach morning, noon, and night. The one that makes your heart pound, your hands sweat, and leaves you shaking uncontrollably since you have no control over anything, least of all what he will do next. Everything you have ever known about yourself is now a huge ball of insecurity. You know the type. I’m certain you do.

The first time I ever felt truly desperate was the moment I realized my days were numbered. The instant I knew that if I did not escape that wretched excuse for a marriage, my life and my child’s life would be over.

Maybe not right away. I had slowly been dying for years. Every day was more brutal than the one prior. But eventually, I was going to die in this marriage.

I knew either he was going to kill me, or I was going to kill him. It had gotten that bad. After years of his threats, abuse, and addictions, he threatened to kill me. It was 4th of July weekend 2009. I remember it vividly.

In front of my child, in an extremely drunken rage, he manically screamed at me to, “shut the fuck up, or I will shut you up forever.” I believed him. I knew he was capable of it.

Guess what I did? I begged for help like my life, and my child’s life, depended on it more than anything in my world ever had before.

That night after he had passed out stoned and drunk, and my child was asleep, I shut myself in my bathroom and crumbled into a heap on the bathroom floor.

I prayed like I never had before. I told God that I was empty. Hollow. Broken. And scared. Desperate! I had no idea how I had gotten so deep with a person who controlled every aspect of my existence. I had no idea how to fight for my life.

I asked God for help. I prayed with agonizing certainty that I would not survive if He didn’t show Himself to me and make it absolutely clear what He wanted me to do. I would either end up dead, or I would end up in prison and leave my child motherless if I killed the SOB in a desperate attempt to protect myself and my child.

My mind began circling around me in a dark, swirling haze of fear, hate, and surrender. I was sobbing, yet had no tears. I was numb. I was dying. Inside and out, I was a shell of the person I had once been.

As soon as it began, it was over. I was calm. Scared to death, but calm. A booming voice in my head was telling me, “I am helping you.”

The voice told me that no matter what the monster sleeping in the next room told me from that moment forward, I was not to believe it. If he told me again I was a worthless piece of shit, I was not to believe a word of it.

The voice filled my soul with love and hope. The love I felt in church as a child, that I knew came from a power greater than anything I could ever fathom. The unconditional love of my Maker.

He never left me. I turned away from Him during those dark years, but He never left my side. I knew it to be true. There was no mistaking it. I knew in that instant, my child and I were going to be alright.

Fast forward ten months later. A lot happened in those ten months. I lost my father to heart disease. I left (finally!) the nightmare of the abusive marriage.

I saved my child and myself. I secured a little rental house for the two of us, the dog, and the cat. I successfully filed and received a domestic violence restraining order with the guidance of a women’s’ shelter. I filed for divorce, pro se.

I lived off my part time job without child or spousal support. I got groceries from the food bank at a local church. Had some utility bills paid by the graciousness of a local Catholic charity, just before our water and power were shut off. I borrowed some money from my brother and sister-in-law to make my car payment, which had fallen behind.

Soon after came the second feeling of utter desperation. I had gotten out. But I had no idea what to do. I had no money. Zilch. Just enough to pay the rent on our little house and put gas in my car.

How was I supposed to raise a child on my own, with a part-time income? To put food on the table while fighting a high-conflict custody battle with a sociopathic, abusive addict? To stand, victoriously on my own two feet, when I didn’t even know where our next meal was coming from?

Again, I was on my knees. After I put my daughter to sleep that night, I crumbled on my bedroom floor. When desperate, when you feel like you have no clue how to go on, you crumble. Your legs fail. Your knees give out, and you’re on the damn floor.

Once again, I begged God to show me what in the world I was supposed to do to support myself and my child.

I made a promise to God that night, one that He reminds me of daily when the small voice in my head reminds me where I came from. Where I’ve been. And where I’m going, come hell or high water.

I promised God that if He helped me—provided the answers I desperately needed—I would devote the rest of my lift to serving Him. Some way, somehow, I would dedicate my existence to living the life He intended for me. I pledged, in that desperate heap on my bedroom floor, if He saved my life (again!), that I would be faithful to Him until my dying day.

I dragged myself off the floor and fell asleep crying. I woke up with a clear head, and a clear heart. I could breathe. I felt—wait for it—almost happy. I felt free. I surrendered the fight and gave it to God. He was in charge now. Not me. He would see us through to the end. I didn’t know how. I just knew it was true. I had to pay attention to His signs, really listen, and trust when it was time for me to act.

Fast forward a few months later. My company was advertising a position that was senior to that which I held at the time. I read the job description and knew I was qualified, albeit a long shot. It was located 250 miles away from where my child and I lived—from my hometown.

I applied; what did I have to lose? After a series of interviews, I was selected over 60 other applicants, and offered a promotion.

I was awarded 100% sole legal and physical custody of my child and granted a move-away order in family court. I was going to support my little family on a salary three times what I was making.

We moved. We struggled. We fought. We won.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Desperation brings us to our knees. This life we live is a blessing. It may feel like a living hell at times. In those moments, we have the ability to completely give up ourselves and surrender. Ask for help, receive it, and listen.

I am blessed because I listened to the voice. I gave up control when it was obvious I had no control over anything. What a huge relief, to be able to give the heavy burden to someone else!

I let God guide my actions, my thoughts, and every move I made. It saved my life, and the life of my child. I am forever indebted to God’s grace and mercy.

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

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

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

Lucy K. Wright: Beauty, Brains and Body

Lucy K. Wright: Beauty, Brains and Body

breakBeauty. Brains. Body.  Those were the words my father used to describe each of us girls.  His daughters.

I was Beauty.  I was never expected to do much but marry well.  I think that is what my label meant anyhow.  I spent a lot of time doing things my father liked, and trying to please him, but never felt that I really did.  Not in his eyes anyhow.  I strived to be perfect…always… but perfect for whom?

My middle sister was the Brain.  She was the only one my father thought was smart enough to follow in his footsteps and have a career in the medical field.  She was the only one he talked intelligently to.  My other sister and I were smart also, but Middle was the one he gave his attention to.  Looking back, she played up her interest in medicine to get attention from him, but I don’t blame her.  That was her survival mechanism in dealing with her narcissist father.  To this day she has never been married or in a serious relationship, which is perfectly fine, but I wonder how much of her insecurities with men or relationships in general today stem from our childhood and our father.  My father treated Middle almost like a wife more than he did our own mother.  Looking back his behaviors with Middle were more than borderline questionable, with the secrecy, one-on-one time spent together and trips away.  My youngest sister and I were excluded most of the time so we became numb to our father and his tactics with Middle, which looking back, was our way of coping.

Body.  Sick.  Not her, him.  Using that word to reference his youngest daughter?  Sick.  She was the dancer in the family and in his mind, that is what she would be.  She wasn’t the best student in school and by the time she was old enough to understand a little about what was going on, my father had completely checked out as a parent.  She partied, paid attention to boys and got in the most trouble.  When Youngest was 16, literally on her birthday, my father pulled up in a moving van in front of our home and announced he was moving to anther state.  He has justified this for years saying he “asked” the Youngest if it was ok that he left.  She was sixteen.  Her birthday.  She has no idea what was going on with our parents or how bad the situation was.  I was away at college. At that time Middle was closest with our father and helped him move out.  Talk about a thorn and family divided. I was not there but I cannot imagine the emotion. My mom found out a few days prior that my father was moving, but had no idea when because he wouldn’t talk to her.  She found out accidentally from someone who he worked with. It was a mess.  It still is, but we all know how to deal with it better now.

My father moved a state away to eventually move in with the woman he had an affair with his entire marriage to my mom.  A few years after finding that out, he called one evening when I was at college and told me he had “some news.”  He said he and the woman “got married this past weekend.”  It was very nonchalant.  No big deal and not once did he ask how I felt about it.  I was close to my mom and had never met the other woman, nor did I want to.  I did though, a few years after I married my Narcissist.

I have no relationship with my father today.  Through my work in counseling and self healing, I have come to peace with that.  It makes no sense but this was my father’s choice and those were the cards I was dealt.  My ExN and my father are practically best friends.  Middle was replaced with new wife and it about destroyed her.  She has no relationship with our father today either.  Youngest has a relationship but she doesn’t talk about it.  I understand.

We all have stories and a past.  I am more determined than ever before to break this cycle, this Narcissistic cycle, for my own children.  I look at the damage done to our family by my father, back then and still today.  I look at my ExN, with my father as his mentor, heading in the same direction.  He doesn’t know it, but he is, and when our kids are grown they are going to understand this situation more and more.  It is my job now to stay strong, break this cycle and be a warrior for my kids.  As I start down the PRE road now, for the second time, I know I’m going to lose a few battles.  But in the end, I am going to win this war.

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