Tag Archives: co parenting with a narcissist

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.


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:


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


“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: A Change in Visitation?

Divorcing a Narcissist: A Change in Visitation?

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing is an idiom of Biblical origin. It is used of those playing a role contrary to their real character, with whom contact is dangerous. As a fable it has been falsely credited to Aesop and the theme is now numbered 451 in the Perry Index. The confusion has arisen from the similarity of the theme with fables of Aesop concerning wolves that are mistakenly trusted by shepherds; the moral drawn from these is that one’s basic nature eventually betrays itself.

I wonder if this was written about Narcissists? What does the Narcissist do when those around him start discovering that he is in fact a wolf and not a sheep?  I believe that I am going to find that out firsthand very soon.

Our visitation has remained the same for the past year- the 1st and 3rd weekend of each month (5th weekend also if applicable) from 11am- 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday.  My fear has been that opening a can of worms (child support) would cause him to ask for additional parenting time.  “Parenting time”…who am I kidding.  I may as well be selling oceanfront property in Nebraska.  Additional time means less child support in his mind- it has nothing to do with parenting time.  It’s about a “percentage”.

Sure enough, the girls got into my car on Sunday afternoon and stated that they don’t want to spend the night at dad’s house.  My youngest daughter asked me to promise her that they wouldn’t have to stay there overnight. Their father told them that they would be spending the nights at his house soon to which they replied, “We don’t want to”.  His response, “Too bad.  That’s the way it is going to be”.

Upon arriving home, I sent him a text message stating that he should not be talking to the girls about adult matters such as changes to the visitation.  These things should be addressed with the court- not with little girls.  He didn’t respond.  I have notified the girls’ attorney and will wait to hear back. In the meantime, I will begin preparing for the next round of battle that is obviously on the horizon.

I live my life wondering what he is going to pull next.  When things get too quiet it either means that he has found another victim or he is plotting something.  It isn’t a fun way to live.  I try to stay two-steps ahead at all times.  If he wants to go in and ask for a change in visitation then he will have a fight on his hands –and it’s a fight that I am already prepared for.  Without trying, I have assembled a small army of people who know the real “X” and who can testify about his character, lies, alcohol abuse, drunk driving, falsified police reports and much more.

There are a handful of people who have contacted me over the past few months– people that I’ve never met.  Ironically, my X tells people about a blog written by his psycho X wife.  Using my name and a few Google searches, I have been contacted by people who know my X.  These individuals are angels in my eyes- despite their fears about my X husband, they have chosen to do what is right by my daughters and they have written and notarized affidavits about who my X really is and citing real life examples of his disturbing behaviors.

Then there are the random emails:  Tina- I have been following your posts since I met your X and I want to thank you for lifting the false vale of nobility.  First off I want to start by saying you meet someone and take what they say at face value, however, after exposure to someone their motivations and actions reveal who they truly are.  Please contact me for further information you may need to help your efforts.  I would divulge further information, however, you have noted his enabling family reads this blog.  He is a loose cannon and don’t want actionable retaliation. ###

In addition to these angels, I was contacted by a man last month who just so happens to be the roommate of my X husband.  Yes, my X’s roommate.  Initially, he was inquiring about my X’s whereabouts because he bounced multiple checks and hadn’t come home in 11 days.  He was concerned that X was in a hospital or in jail.  Through internet searches using information that my X provided about my blog, this man found my blog, my contact information and he actually called me.  We spoke several times in great length and he provided a lot of information about my X including his temper, extreme alcohol consumption and the fact that he drives home from bars after drinking heavily.

To ask for a change in visitation, the burden is on my X to prove that circumstances in his life have changed.  Not only have they not changed, but now I have an arsenal of proof about who he really is.  He knows that I am in communication with the above mentioned people and he knows the information that they hold.  He has now tried to blackmail one individual with information that he knows about her.  Part of his text to her said, “My X wife has details that came from you.  How dare you compromise my children’s relationship with their father“.

I am ready for whatever comes my way and I hope to be able to look my daughter in the eye and promise her that she doesn’t have to stay at his house overnight.  I have a feeling that I will be able to do that soon.  The wolf can only stay in sheep’s clothing for so long before finally being discovered.

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or Follow me on Twitter @onemomsbattle.com

To Purchase “Tina’s Tips”, click here.

One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces: #13

One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces: #13

A note from Tina: It’s hard to believe that I ever felt alone in this battle.  Each week I hear from more and more people who were once victims of a Narcissist, Sociopath or other Cluster B Personality Disorder.  One Mom’s Battle has many faces and its my honor to share them with you.  My healing comes from sharing my story and from hearing your stories.  There is power in numbers and our numbers are growing.  It is my hope that this little “village” will be one strong voice which provides education to our court system and most importantly, brings change to our Family Court System. 

This week’s story gives hope to those who may be struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Cheers to new, healthy beginnings with good men.  They are out there, I promise!  -Tina     

One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces–from all over the world.

Here is Face #12


I cannot begin to express how much you have helped me. It is amazing how alone I felt until I found your blog. My struggle began when I entered into my relationship with my ex back in 1996. He was at first very annoying, and my gut told me to stay away from him. Somehow, though, I began to think that his persistence was cute. His charm was no match for my desperate inner child looking to heal the wounds of childhood. I fell in love with a man who met my every need and made me feel like I was the only woman in the world. Then, he convinced me that getting pregnant was what we both wanted. As soon as it was confirmed I was pregnant, my world changed. He became distant and belittling. I actually realized back then that I didn’t want to marry him, but thought that it was the only way to give my daughter a world that was different than what I grew up in. So I stayed. The day I brought her home, he went golfing. I remember him telling me that he needed a break because of all the hard work he had done and it was a way to celebrate. I look back on those days and want to kick myself.

Somehow, I thought it would be a good idea to have another baby with him, twice. He was so desperate to have a boy and our first child was not. Neither was our second. When I got pregnant with our third child, (still trying to please him), I remember being so excited finding out it was a boy, that I thought everything was going to be perfect. Unfortunately, a leopard cannot change his spots. I was sick of the love/hate relationship he always had for me. I began to get stronger, fighting back on the seesaw life. We had been on welfare for the majority of the six years we had been together up until the point I had decided to leave him. Unfortunately, I found out I was pregnant for the fourth time. I cried that entire pregnancy. I remember working out a plan with him that we would take a break after our fourth child was born, going to stay with my mom for the summer. Somehow, he was able to pull it together and do everything I asked him over those three months. He convinced me that I owed it to him to give it one more try.

We had a good couple of months. I actually was excited that maybe my leaving was enough to scare him. I was wrong. After he began an affair with his secretary, and I found out, I was actually relieved. Granted, he did try to convince me to stay (and he wanted keep us both). I have never looked back. I have been so thankful for that moment of clarity, much like a stream of sunlight peaking in between the clouds in the middle of a horrible storm.

My divorce process started out with us being friends. It rapidly deteriorated when he started to drive our kids without having enough seats for each of them, meaning they couldn’t be buckled safely. He also told our son that he was his favorite because he could carry on his last name, in front of the two older girls. The GAL actually imposed supervised visits at that point to protect the kids, but she was not convinced that I was not influencing their statements. My ex’s attorney actually was convinced that my X was so wonderful- she told the guardian ad litem that I needed a psychological evaluation. The court actually agreed with the GAL, but insisted that we BOTH get evaluated. The day that report came back, he was given a list of disorders and his supervised visits were reinstated. It was the best money I have ever had to spend, or will ever spend. It is the one recommendation I would give to anyone struggling through an ex with mental health issues. Granted, he fought the decision, and has continuously,(and will until the youngest is 18) fought that ruling. He, however, cannot hold it together long enough to do what the courts recommend. He would have to agree with them and get help which he will never admit.

I am happy now, remarried to a wonderful man that treats the kids like his own, and has even mortgaged his house just to help me pay for the endless battles. I thank God everyday and pray that the courts continue to see my ex for who he is, and recognize all the others who are in a similar battle.

Thanks again Tina for all you are doing to help others out there realize there is hope and they are not alone. -Anonymous


Please submit your story (less than 900 words) to Tina@thePRdiva.com- I welcome all stories from Narcissistic survivors.

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or Follow me on Twitter @onemomsbattle.com

To Purchase “Tina’s Tips”, click here.

Divorcing a Narcissist: NPD is a Life without Love and Compassion

Divorcing a Narcissist: NPD is a Life without Love and Compassion

My Disclaimer: Religion = touchy subject.  It’s a subject that I try to steer clear of when writing my blog.  I have my personal beliefs but I have the utmost respect for the beliefs (or non-beliefs) of others.  I don’t think that my way is the only way– I believe that every religion is bonded by one underlying foundation or goal: love.  My goal is to not offend people who have different opinions when it comes to religion as I am nowhere near perfect nor do I want to be perfect (boring!).  I am a work in progress in many areas of my life.

With that said,  I was in church this morning and our pastor was discussing community and love.  He explained that maturity has nothing to do with age.  Maturity has to do with learning to accept responsibility for your actions.  He then went onto say that he has encountered some teenagers who were more mature than grown adults.  What a coincidence- me too!  🙂

With that last comment, my mind immediately went to Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I have heard so many people (including mental health professionals) equate Narcissists to mentally ill 6-year old children.  They are stuck and unable to mature.  For a moment, I felt very sorry for my X and all Narcissists.  I didn’t feel sorry for them in the normal sense of the word but in general, it is a pity that they aren’t able to experience the things that I value most in life.  I can’t imagine living life without really knowing how to love or be loved.  I can’t imagine lacking compassion for a person struggling because my first reaction is to reach out a helping hand.  I feel fulfilled when I have helped someone.

What is life without love, compassion and relationships with those in your neighborhood, community, family or workplace?  I guess that in many ways, I gained a new perspective today when it comes to Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  If I force myself to step back for a moment and contemplate the reality, I have held him in my mind as this evil monster (and I still do) but how is it different from a person with schizophrenia or another mental illness?  In some ways, it is worse because there is no treatment.  He will never accept that there is something wrong with him because he operates in his own delusional, sad, empty world.  I’ve been in “battle mode” for so long that I’ve never really thought about it from this angle.  It’s quite sad.

Does this new revelation change anything for me?  No.  I will still continue to fight with every ounce of my being in an effort to protect my daughters.    I think back to a card given to me by my church last year that said, “May you always have the courage to set boundaries and do whatever it takes to protect your daughters.”  I will always set boundaries and I will always fight to protect my daughters.

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or Follow me on Twitter @onemomsbattle.com

To Purchase “Tina’s Tips”, click here.

Divorcing a Narcissist: Raising Healthy and Caring Children

Divorcing a Narcissist: Raising Healthy and Caring Children

Narcissists lack compassion, empathy and feelings.  I think that we can all agree on that.

There is an unspoken fear that seems to go hand-in-hand with having a Narcissist’s influence on your children. There are several women who have written to me expressing concern about their children showing Narcissistic traits or that they are simply afraid of their children following in the Narcissistic parent’s footsteps.  I think that with anything, the mind can run wild with “what if’s” and a fear of the unknown.  Before I understood Narcissism, I had many of those same fears and thoughts.

Children are faced with lots of pressure in school to excel in sports and academics.  Having a narcissist parent only intensifies those pressures.  I cringed two years ago when I heard my X asking my daughter about her annual March-A-Thon.  She was dead-set on winning and ran 18 laps without stopping for water.  She kept telling me didn’t want water because she wanted to win.  I discussed with her the importance of hydration and that she didn’t need to “win” at everything.  I told her that the March-A-Thon was a fun event and not a race.  I was cheering for her this year as she ran laps but stopped to laugh and play in the sprinklers with her friends along the way.  My goal is to cheer my daughters on in everything that they do but to teach them to have fun along the way.

While I can’t speak for anyone else, I can discuss my personal experience with this topic.  In the beginning years of being a mother, I looked up to my X in-laws for advice on parenting.  I had “drank the kool-aid” so to speak and believed that they were the ideal parents who valued education and were focused on family values.  As the years progressed, I discovered that they were people who trained their children to feel superior and entitled while teaching them to hide dark family secrets.

The main advice that I was given from my X in-laws was to continually praise my daughters for their intelligence.  I learned to brag about how smart my daughter was and about how many signs (baby sign language) that she knew at the age of one.  I took pleasure in how early she could recognize letters and how early that she learned to read.  I was instructed to never compliment her on looks- only on intelligence.  They were enrolled in the top private school (preschool) in the County before I had even given birth to them.  They were to believe that they were special and I saw this play out in my X’s family.  His family believed that they were superior and extremely intelligent in everything that they did.

What I have personally learned through common sense, motherly instinct and working with therapists (mine and my daughters):

Children in today’s society (in general) need healthy role models.  They need to have boundaries and see their parents operating with boundaries.  They need praise for being good, kind people- not just for being smart or special.  Children need to understand that actions have consequences and they need to be guided with love, compassion and empathy.

Regardless of whether a child has a Narcissist for a parent, I feel that today’s world revolves around superficial things such as who has the nicest clothing or the best designer handbag.  My daughters know that they are beautiful inside and out.  They are also taught that everyone is different and that differences make people beautiful.  Telling your child that he/she is beautiful is a wonderful thing when delivered in the right context.  I compliment my daughters on things that they do that are “kind” much more than I compliment them on looks or intelligence.

It is our goal as parents to provide opportunities for our children to be outwardly focused.  There are tools that can be used in everyday life to accomplish this.  Talk to your children about the homeless when you see a man holding up a sign and asking for change.  Better yet, take your children to deliver cookies or other treats to the less fortunate.  If you see a “Lost Dog” sign on a fencepost, this is the perfect opportunity to discuss feelings—the doggie must be scared and the family must be very sad about their lost doggie.  Look for the hidden opportunities in everyday life.   My church offers little “care packages” for the homeless filled with basic necessities.  Some of my most rewarding moments as a mother has been watching my daughters get excited when we hand one out the window to someone in need.  I often ask them, “What do you think that we can do to help (blank) feel better?” when we know that a friend or family member is sad or hurting.

Talk to your children about boundaries.  This is an invaluable life tool for children and adults everywhere.  Helping my daughters to find their voice and to express “right from wrong” using their words has been incredibly rewarding to watch.   This life skill can be used on the playground, with friends or with family members.  Children are sponges and will soak up every single life skill and experience that you give them.

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or Follow me on Twitter @onemomsbattle.com

To Purchase “Tina’s Tips”, click here.


One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces: #8

One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces: #8

A note from Tina: Every week I feature stories from other women who are in this battle.  One Mom’s Battle has many faces.  Part of my healing has come from connecting with these other women and sharing stories, giggles and tears.  I have found a tremendous support system through this blog and it has helped me to realize that I am not alone.  I call them the “Warrior Moms” and while I know there are also many men affected by Narcissists and Psychopaths, the vast majority of my interaction is with other brave women.  One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces –from all over the world.

Here is Face #8:

It’s been 3 years since I called it quits with my Narcissist. Reading your blog was like reading my life. How disturbed these NPD’s would be to know that they are literally scripted to be just like each other! They are not special, or unique in any way, actually. The karma of it all is quite funny to me now, actually.

I stayed married 3 years longer than I should have, fighting my way through therapy, watching him lie to and charm the therapist. Having him beg me to lie to our therapist, too. Because he was somewhat physically abusive. There were only a couple of instances, but he had a way of “keeping me in line” in other ways. He was a thrower. It started with remotes….then glasses…bowls, lamps. One night he slammed a door so hard it went through the frame. His answer was to punch it in half, tear it off the hinges and throw it down the stairs at me. He once threw a solid oak wood dining room chair at my head. It missed by inches and lodged in the wall. I still have that dining room set (I got all of the furniture in the house in the divorce) and that chair still has drywall caked on a couple of legs. I keep it that way as a reminder, honestly. I need to see that to remind me that I have it better now, no matter how bad he gets. Because the other reason I stayed those 3 years is because I truly thought that the only thing worse than being married to him would be to be divorced from him, knowing the living nightmare he would make my life.

I moved 30 minutes away from him in a modest house I could afford. My kids love it and are happy. He sold our 3 story mansion down there and moved into an even bigger house, on the lake with floor to ceiling windows, bought a boat and a golf cart…wait for it….IN MY SAME NEIGHBORHOOD. He now lives a football field away from me so he can be, you guessed it, “closer to the kids.” I’ve lived there two years, but now he is slowly but surely charming everyone to where they don’t know why I ever divorced him! I must be crazy! And even though he’s there to be closer to the kids…he doesn’t want to take my son to baseball practice or his friends house…not on HIS time! He is not a taxi service!!! Have you MET teenagers???? Wow. Nothing that would interfere with HIS plan, that’s for sure. It’s becoming abundantly clear to me that once my youngest son graduates high school in 3 years? I will sell this house and move far from here. It makes me sad because he has now destroyed my place, my refuge, the one thing that was mine…the first house I ever bought BY MYSELF! He’s wiped it all away. But he doesn’t understand my hurt or anger about this, he wants us to be friends. He doesn’t understand why we don’t talk anymore? When he consistently and continually twists my words into things I never said (I, too, have started recording), and continues to trash my friends.

I have been accused of being bitter, overly obsessed with my ex….but really? I don’t want to be mad anymore. I sure as hell don’t want to be bitter. It’s not who I am. I’m just so damn tired of thinking about him at all. I hope I get there, I really do.

So just thanks, I guess, now that I’ve blathered on, for putting this out there and letting all of us know that we’re not alone. That we’re not crazy. And shining a light on this ever so troubling disorder.  With love for your continued success and happiness…R


Please submit your story (less than 900 words) to Tina@thePRdiva.com- I welcome all stories from Narcissistic survivors.

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or Follow me on Twitter @onemomsbattle.com

To Purchase “Tina’s Tips”, click here.

Divorcing a Narcissist: Contempt of Court for Child Support

Divorcing a Narcissist: Contempt of Court for Child Support

In July of 2009, I came to the realization that my divorce wasn’t going to be the peaceful, amicable ending that I had envisioned and hoped for.

Back then, I had heard the term “Narcissist” but I had no clue about the journey that was in front of me.  I had no idea what “divorcing a Narcissist” would really entail and I wasn’t equipped to handle things as they were unfolding.

For the past three years, I have focused solely on fighting to protect my daughters and I feel that I’ve done a good job given the challenges of being ‘in pro per’ and up against a court system that isn’t educated in Cluster B personality disorders.  With that said, I have been so focused on protecting the girls that I haven’t had the time or energy to tackle the child support issues.  Namely, the lack of child support issue.  My X hid income in 2010 and once discovered, it placed him about $15,000 in arrears.  In the past twelve months, he has made two full monthly payments only because his wages were garnished.  Between 2010 and 2012, his arrears have grown to be in the neighborhood of $37,000.  His interest alone is $250 per month on the past due balance.

Over the past few years I have struggled from a financial standpoint.  More importantly, my children have gone without the things they were accustomed to such as gymnastics, dance lessons and other child-friendly activities.  This time of year (school starting) has been extremely stressful with the added cost of school clothing and new shoes.  In the beginning stages, I would send him emails begging for help.  I came to realize that he thrived on this.  He would send me emails outlining the fabulous minimum wage jobs that I could take on in the evenings.

From that point on, I refused to give him the benefit of knowing my financial situation or struggles.  I decided to leave it in the hands of Child Support Services of California.  I’ve come to discover that Child Support Services has their hands tied.  The process of collection is long and drawn out.  The system is over burdened and while they can go after someone’s drivers license or seek jail time for non-payment, it takes months and months.

Last year, someone who knows my X husband sent me a link to forms for “Contempt of Court” and advised that I file on the 1st of every month for each missed payment.  She stated that while contempt is very difficult to prove, it should be easy in the case of my X husband.  I sat on those forms and debated whether or not to file on many occasions.  I recently spoke to a local attorney who said, “Tina, normally I would discourage anyone in pro per from filing contempt charges because they are very difficult to prove.  If anyone can do it and succeed, it’s you”.

Those were the words of encouragement that I needed.  It isn’t about me.  It’s about my daughters and the things that they lack in their lives.  I can’t even imagine how different that our lives would be if we had received the $37,000 in support payments over the past few years.  Meanwhile, a Narcissist is content buying a new car, living in a luxury condo and spending money at wineries and restaurants with zero regard for his daughters.

This week I filed papers to have my X husband held in contempt of court.  This could mean stiff penalties or jail time.  Prior to filing, I sent him a simple email to ask for an update on his employment status.  I notified him of my plan to file contempt charges if we couldn’t resolve these matters.

This was his response:

Tina, I propose we go to (XYZ) Mediation Services not Commissioner (ABC). 
He is going to be furious to see you and me again. 
I set up automatic deposits from my wages and the earliest this could start was the paycheck today. If you proceed with this hearing, I do not foresee this being favorable for you as payments will be consistently paid to you three times before this hearing. Let me know so I can proceed with proving you have written false amounts on court documents about your income.  Best regards, The X
Let me translate this for you in the Narcissism De-Coder:
Tina, Let me try and convince you that I am trustworthy enough to go to mediation like normal divorcing couples.  Before I begin, please have a sip of this kool-aid.  I really don’t want to go in front of the Commissioner because I know how bad this will look.
Don’t mind the million broken promises from the past about automatic payments being made and the check that was placed in yesterday’s mail.  This time, my word is golden.
If you proceed with the hearing, I am totally screwed so sit tight and put your feet up while I try and twist this around and project my lies about income onto YOU.   Best Regards, The X
I should hear the Commissioner’s decision on Monday– this will determine if he plans to set a hearing for Contempt of Court.
Worst case scenario: the Commissioner is now aware of the past 12 months of missed payments and has proof of my X’s extravagant lifestyle during his time of “poverty”.

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or Follow me on Twitter @onemomsbattle.com

To Purchase “Tina’s Tips”, click here.



One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces: #6

One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces: #6

A note from Tina:

Every week I feature stories from other women who are in this battle.  One Mom’s Battle has many faces.  Part of my healing has come from connecting with these other women and sharing stories, giggles and tears.  I have found a tremendous support system through this blog and it has helped me to realize that I am not alone.  I call them the “Warrior Moms” and while I know there are also many men affected by Narcissists and Psychopaths, the vast majority of my interaction is with other brave women.  One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces –from all over the world.

Here is Face #6- from South Dakota

Hi Tina- I was so relieved when I found your blog back in January of this year. It was the first time I truly didn’t feel crazy about the way my X was acting. People at work thought I was blowing things out of proportion, they couldn’t believe I was telling the truth, they couldn’t imagine someone could be as unstable as he was.  They assumed that we were the typical “high conflict divorce” when the reality was that I tried my very best to AVOID conflict with him!  It was like a weight was lifted off of me when I realized I wasn’t alone. I took a lesson from you, and started my own blog to get a lot of the crap out of my head – to put it someplace where I wouldn’t have to carry it around with me anymore.

Thank you for continuing to work to protect your girls, to set an example for all the other women feeling trapped in their marriages, and to bring awareness to this problem. We appreciate your effort more than words can express. Thank you.

Here is my story…

In April 2010 I did the hardest thing I could imagine. I told my husband of 13 years that I wanted a divorce. He cried. He whined. He got angry. He told me I’d be miserable. That I had no idea how to be alone. He said that I would be begging him to come back. He started spreading lies to our family and friends and our children about my motives and character.

Luckily, the divorce moved quickly, I agreed to things I probably shouldn’t have, I didn’t have money for a lawyer – I just wanted to end this marriage. After only 2 court appearances, in July of 2010 I was officially divorced.  In August of 2010, he moved to South Dakota from Maine to go to school to become a lawyer.

For the first year, his contact with the me and the kids was sporadic, it was angry and blaming me for everything. I tried to fix his mood. I tried to be nice. I tried to be reasonable and to keep him calm. It all fell on deaf ears. Soon I realized this was a game for him. He wanted to suck me into conversations. He wanted me to pay attention to him. He wanted to be able to continue to control me.  Shortly before a school vacation, he showed up, out of the blue, and took the boys out of school. He texted me “I have the kids”. As far as I knew he was still in SD. I was terrified.

I went back to court to modify our order to make visitation more concrete. He participated in mediation via telephone. It was infuriating to listen to him con the mediator into feeling badly for him that he’s so far away from his kids, that his life in law school was so hard. She didn’t see the Facebook pictures of him drinking and partying with college kids. Life sure was rough for him. Because he is in school, and doesn’t work, I cannot get child support until that changes. He can, however, take out massive school loans to pay for his own personal needs and wants. He smokes, drinks, and has a personal trainer. He is currently backpacking around Europe.

I gave 13 years of my life to that relationship. I was always feeling like I needed to change or try harder or do better. I tried so hard. But, I was wrong. I wasn’t what needed changing.

Along my journey I have learned a lot. I believe my X has a mental disorder that makes him incapable of love, reason or grasping reality. His twisted world view is all he knows and to him, it is REAL. He is easier to deal with now that I know what NOT to expect. He can’t be neutral or rational. He believes that I tore apart our super happy family so I could be with a man I was having an affair with online, and I should have to be miserable and suffer for my wrong doings.

My kids are happy, so he doesn’t talk to them anymore.

I’m sad my kids don’t have a dad that they can rely on or look up to, but when we were married, they didn’t have that either. I work hard to be the best mom that I can be for them.

It’s almost been 2 full years and I have never been happier. I have met someone who has shown me that life isn’t to be squandered living with hate or bitterness. I’m in love. There IS a light on the other side.


Please submit your story (less than 900 words) to Tina@thePRdiva.com

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or Follow me on Twitter @onemomsbattle.com

To Purchase “Tina’s Tips”, click here.

Divorcing a Narcissist: Inside the Mind of a Narcissist

Divorcing a Narcissist: Inside the Mind of a Narcissist
Sometimes I feel like the soundtrack from the Twilight Zone should burst through my computer speakers every time I receive an email from my X.  Sometimes I wonder what it looks like inside his mind.  Truthfully, it scares me to contemplate that one in too much detail!
Each email makes me physically and literally tilt my head sideways as if that will help me to understand how his mind works.  Maybe I need to hang upside down and read it?  I am willing to try anything at this point.

As you may remember, he agreed to change the visitation time slightly to accommodate a birthday party that the girls wanted to attend.  Because he needs to maintain control, he would never agree to a change unless it benefited him directly so I had to wonder what his motivation was.  It could have to do with his mother being here for the summer and acting as a voice of reason.  Nevertheless, he agreed to change and I was both surprised and thankful.

I knew that something would be right around the corner because the change seemed too easy.  Sure enough, I received this email shortly after:

Tina- I accommodated your request to change the visitation time this Saturday to 2:30 PM to 8:30 PM.  I do look forward to seeing the girls on the 21st at 2:30 PM and the 22nd at 11 AM.

You will recollect that following the custody evaluation by (Mrs. Evaluator) that the recommendation is that the girls spend three weekends with overnights with me as well.  The other agreement was that i could take the girls on a five day vacation.  I kindly asked you to grant a vacation to San Diego with my Mom and the girls

I do not want to have to go request a hearing with court to spend Wednesday the 1st of August through Sunday the 5th of August with the girls to bring them to San Diego Wild Animal Park and Lego Land.  Would you please say this would be fine?  Best regards, The X

Let’s Step Back into Reality for a Moment:

1. The evaluation and court order that he refers to was from June of 2010.  A LOT has changed since that time.  Mainly, the court has seen through him and he was caught lying about the girls whereabouts multiple times.  The lies about where the children were being kept resulted in a new court order that took away his overnight visits.

2. As a Narcissist, he truly believes that he can choose whichever court order seems to fit his needs at the time.  It doesn’t matter than the order is over two years old or that there have been 5-10 new orders that supersede the one that he is referencing.

3. Let me get this straight: you want me to forget that I have spent three + years of my life in battle to protect my daughters?  You want me to forget the countless nights that I have worried about where my daughters were staying and whether or not they were going to be coming home to me after a visit?  You want me to just “forget” the court order that I fought so hard to obtain that ensures my daughters sleep safety in their own beds each and every night.

The long and short answer: “No….”

My response to him:
X- As you know, there is a court order in place that supersedes the order that you are talking about from all the way back in 2010.  You are asking me to violate a court order and the answer is no.  I do not feel comfortable with you taking the girls out of the county for overnight visits.  I plan to adhere to the court order as it is written.   Tina

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or Follow me on Twitter @onemomsbattle.com

To Purchase “Tina’s Tips”, click here.

Divorcing a Narcissist: The Mask of the Doting Father

Divorcing a Narcissist: The Mask of the Doting Father

It’s somewhat ironic that masks scare me given the fact that I spent almost ten years with a Narcissist who chose a new mask each day.  It is also no wonder that it took me so long to figure out what I was dealing with.  As soon as I thought I understood him, he would put on a new mask.  Being married to or divorcing a Narcissist is like being stuck in a horrible, dark theatrical performance that no one can understand despite how hard you try to explain it to them.

I’ve been home all week with a sick little girl.  My youngest daughter contracted a virus called ‘Hand Foot Mouth’ virus and we’ve had a rough time over the past five days.  I notified my X about the virus as this was his visitation weekend.  There is a small child who lives in his family’s house so he opted to cancel visitation yesterday and I was thankful for that.

He immediately put on the “doting dad” mask.  He needed to pretend to play the loving, caring father because he was cc’ing our daughters’ attorney on each email.  He needed an audience for his grand performance.  Being that he thinks he is a doctor (Reality check #1: he sells medical supplies.  He is a salesman), he began sending pages of information about the virus from the Mayo Clinic. I responded to him by stating that I am in communication with her doctor and have things under control to which he replied, “Please let me know how (Daughter) is doing? Hand, foot and mouth can be very, very serious for infants. Best regards, The X”

Reality Check #2: Our daughter is five years old.  She isn’t an infant.  Maybe he missed a few years? This confusion may explain why he recently bragged in court about signing up for a series of parenting classes.  One class was called, “Raising your spirited 2-year old”.  Very interesting and admirable but our daughters are 5 and 7 years old.  Maybe he is trying to catch up and start from the beginning?  Who knows –it does look good on paper and that is what matters, right?

This is the same man who hasn’t bothered to visit our daughter in the hospital after any of her seizures since 2009 despite being notified each time.  On one occasion he pretended to be working and was unable to leave his sales appointment.  His Facebook account showed that he was watching a sporting event near his home.

Anyone else want a refund to the theatrical play called, “The Narcissistic Doting Father“?

“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or Follow me on Twitter @onemomsbattle.com

To Purchase “Tina’s Tips”, click here.