Tag Archives: Divorcing a Narcissist

Tina Swithin survived a Category Five Divorce Hurricane and has taken shelter in her book titled, “Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and in her blog, “One Mom’s Battle.” Tina’s ultimate goal is to bring education and change to the Family Court System. Tina resides in sunny California with her fiancé, two daughters and three-legged tortoise named, “Oliver.”

NY Warrior Mom: Through a Child’s Eyes

NY Warrior Mom: Through a Child’s Eyes
eyesby NY Warrior Mom
As I sit at the normal pick up/drop off spot for parents, waiting patiently for my son, I cannot help but notice the number of children as they get out of the car and are rejoined with either mom or dad.  Each child has  a story but do any of us really know what that child’s story is?  As I watch the reactions of the kids getting out of the vehicle, some happy because they had a great visit with the non-custodial parent, some happy to see their mom and/or dad and some other children are crying.  But do we really know what is behind a child’s eyes, the pain they are feeling inside, the confusion on their face or the bruises that are all over their little bodies?
This particular night, I could not help as I watched a particular family that I had been observing for weeks.  I never see any interaction between the mom and dad during the exchange.  The father drops the child off and lets the little boy run into his mom’s car and the father drives off, peeling his tires which is apparent that he cannot get out of there fast enough and the mom has her car in reverse trying to hurry up her son to get buckled so she can get out of there.     I have often wondered what is the little boy’s story?  I never see the child smile as he exits his dad’s vehicle and/or enter his mom’s vehicle.  People  so often jump to conclusions without knowing the real story drawing their own conclusions me included.   But as I sat back and observed this little boy’s every move, I could not help but wonder if what I was seeing was very similar to what my little boy is going through?
As I was observing this little boy this past week, a song came on the radio called It Cuts Both Ways. As I listened to the words, I could only think about what is really going on with this little boy and I found myself going over every detail in  my head of my son’s story.  I wonder how many parents are trying to figure out my son’s story.    This is my son’s story.
My name is David and I am 5 years old.  My mommy and daddy are getting a divorce.  I do not know what a divorce is exactly.  I just know that my mommy and daddy no longer get along and live together.  I now have two houses, two bedrooms, and lots of toys.    I am pulled in different directions and told different things.  I hurt.   I am only a kid.  Can they just leave me alone?  I cannot take this.
These are the words that my son told his counselor and it was like the knife cutting both ways to my heart to hear how my son really felt, how he viewed his parents and how he would cry himself to sleep at night due to the pain that he was feeling.     Internally,  my son was hurting, confused and was attempting to maintain his  feelings while struggling with the changes with his mommy and daddy.  He did not understand what was happening to his world around him.
The outside world felt that it was two parents that could not co-parent because they did not get along, a custody issue, putting a child in the middle, it had to be.  What the outside world did not know is that I broke free from the abuse but now my son was hiding his bruises, the emotional scars and trying to understand why his daddy did not love him.   How do you explain to a 5 year old that what daddy is doing is wrong but the Judge says I have to send you and Child Protective Services says they are only bruises and they are caused by co parenting issues?

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

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

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

Divorcing a Narcissist: L and her Little One

Divorcing a Narcissist: L and her Little One

littleby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ultraby Lucy K. Wright 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Didn’t I remember?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things do happen for a reason.

~LLS~ Lucy K. Wright

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

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

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

An Open Letter to Gwyneth Paltrow

An Open Letter to Gwyneth Paltrow

gwyneth-paltrowA Guest Blog by Teleah Grand

Dear Gwyneth Paltrow,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

red flagsby Lucy K. Wright

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

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

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

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

How wrong I was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I started changing too.

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

~LLS~  Lucy K.

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

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

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

Kelly Rutherford’s Custody Battle: Is There a Glimmer of Hope?

Kelly Rutherford’s Custody Battle: Is There a Glimmer of Hope?

by Tina Swithin

I recently wrote about Kelly Rutherford’s custody battle which defies logic on multiple levels. I first connected with Kelly last year and was able to attend her most recent court date on March 19th in Los Angeles Superior Court. Kelly’s case has had a few hopeful moments in recent months:

To read more, please click on today’s article in the Examiner

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

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

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

Switched at Divorce: My Father Chose My Ex over Me

Switched at Divorce: My Father Chose My Ex over Me

Faultby Lucy K. Wright

Switched at Birth Divorce:  My Father Chose My Ex over Me

My father’s response to me simply was this:  “Well, Lucy…. What you are telling me does not seem like Ex at all, I’m not sure I understand.  Exactly what did YOU do to cause him to start behaving like this?” 

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On a random day in college:

My father called to let me know that he and his female friend (FF) had been officially married.  They did it the weekend before, with just “a few close friends” in attendance.  None of us daughters had met FF prior, but we had heard plenty about her from our mom who discovered her affair with my father that spanned the entire length of their marriage.

I knew about FF after discovering letters written between her and my father on the day I graduated from high school.  I was looking for jewelry in my mom’s closet.  I moved a box in the closet, which accidentally overturned, with letters spilling all over the floor.  It took a few years for me to confront my father about FF.  I was being physically and emotionally destructive to my own self during this time, worrying and anticipating each day that he would tell me about her and trying to play out in my head how I would react.  He didn’t ever initiate that important conversation.  After help from some very good college counselors, and me becoming strong and confident enough, I approached him.  In his very nonchalant way he acknowledged FF in his life and praised her for being the “soul mate he never had with my mother.”  I sat numbly, my head spinning, as he casually told me all about this woman, from the time he met her in college, to that present moment in time.  He justified everything; and blamed whatever he could on my mom, taking no ownership or responsibility himself for this affair or the destructive hurt he caused our family.

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Fast forward two years of time past that discussion with my father:

My life was changing rapidly as I met, and married, my then husband, who was/is created out of the exact same mold as my father.  I couldn’t have found someone more similar, who treated me exactly how I was used to being treated when growing up.  That was my comfort, my familiar, and my “normal”; I married what I knew.

I married my father.

My story of growing up with a narcissistic, hands-off, never around father is a long one.  I have a few memories, less than a handful, when I thought my father was proud of me.  I engaged in some activities I knew that my father liked, and in doing so, I hoped he would pay attention to me and love me just a little more because we had some common interests.  I never felt good enough for him, my grades weren’t perfect, my hair was stringy, my weight too high, and I owned too many sweaters in my closet for his liking (which I was reminded of frequently); but he was my father.  I spent my childhood trying to be the perfect daughter, and trying to please him.

I did finally agree to meet his FF/wife, two years after I was married myself.  While I have very little respect for her, or her involvement with my father while they were together, yet both married to other people, she made every attempt to be cordial with me.   So, I made a choice very early on to reciprocate and be cordial back; but I always chose my words with her carefully and was leery of her overall.  I was close with my mom, and I didn’t like FF much, but I maintained the relationship so I could still try to have one with my own father.

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Fast forward to today, over five years post-divorce:

I have seen my father three times in the past six years:

  • The first time, he showed up to court during our temporary hearing.  He testified against me, speaking only in favor of my Ex, his new surrogate-son. I found out he was attending the hearing five minutes before my attorney and I were supposed to go into the courtroom.  I don’t understand why he was permitted to speak; there was really no relevant reason.  During our marriage my Ex and I visited him every few months.  He was not an integral part of our lives then, but he became an integral part of my Ex’s life throughout the divorce process, and still is to this day.
  • The second time, my father proudly sat on the bench behind my Ex during another court hearing, took notes, looked my way several times, and then practically walked hand and hand out of the courtroom with my Ex and his similarly-dressed attorney.
  • The third time, ditto the second.

I will never understand any of this.  I just won’t.  But I don’t let it consume me like I used to.

When my father walked into that courtroom the first time you literally could have heard a pin drop.  My father, there to speak so adoringly about my Ex, who never once asked me to hear my side of the story, and gather his own daughter’s perspective about what was going on before voicing judgment the way he chose to do.

During the final year of our marriage, I would sometimes find my Ex sitting in our garage, in his locked car, at 2am….talking to my father. My father didn’t talk to me anymore. He didn’t ask my side of what was occurring in our home; how I was; how our children were doing; if he could help. He only talked to my Ex.  Those were days I rarely slept.  My Ex was up a lot, wandering the house, waking me up during all hours to tell me how disgusted he was with me, how I ruined his life, his career, etc.  I never knew what I was going to wake up to next.  Half the time I felt like I was having an outer body experience.  Half the time I thought I was the one who was crazy.  I lived in constant fear, yet I knew I had to somehow find the courage and energy each day to remain strong so I could take care of my kids.

The last interaction I had with my father was a phone call.  It was summer, I was driving, and I was afraid.  I called him crying, telling him I really thought sometime was wrong with my Ex, that he needed help, that I was scared of what he was going to do next, and him hurting me or my kids.  I told him his behavior was irrational and I genuinely told him I didn’t know what to do and thought he needed help.  My father was, well, my father, and he was in the medical profession; I thought he might understand.

My father’s response to me simply was this:  “Well, Lucy…. What you are telling me does not seem like Ex at all, I’m not sure I understand.  Exactly what did YOU do to cause him to start behaving like this?”

I didn’t say another word.  I just hung up the phone.

In my family you do not do things like that to my father or you pay the consequences.  I guess that is why he decided to turn his back and give me the silent treatment for the past few years now.  Or maybe he just really doesn’t want to be my father anymore so he can continue to stand up so proudly for his fellow narcissistic “son”.

It’s just like all the years he spent blaming my mom.

Only now, instead of just her…

“It’s all MY fault” too.

~LLS~  Lucy K.

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

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

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

Lucy K. Wright: “Squaring the Circle”: Adjusting to Life after My Father Drove Away

Lucy K. Wright: “Squaring the Circle”: Adjusting to Life after My Father Drove Away

squaringby Lucy K. Wright

To say that one is attempting to square the circle means that they are attempting an impossible task.  In the OMB world, an example of squaring the circle is when you and I attempt to understand the thoughts or behaviors of a narcissist.  We can’t.  We don’t.  We won’t.  And we shouldn’t even attempt to try.

This concept is entirely different than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, or circle, which, by definition, implies that two things are “inherently incompatible.”  In the OMB world, for example, this refers to any one of us who have the unfortunate claiming rights to a narcissistic parent, partner, or Ex, and realizing that at one point, maybe even pretty early on, how utterly “inherently incompatible” you, and he or she, really are.

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We didn’t know the full extent of my father’s relationship with his female friend (FF) until about two years after he left.  The aftermath of him pulling up to our home with a moving van, and leaving his family behind on my sister’s 16th birthday was incomprehensible.

When you encounter a situation like this in life, a natural emotional reaction is to (cry, and then) wonder, “What happened?  Why did he leave us?  What about the family?  Did we do something wrong?”  Why?  Why?  Why.

It takes awareness and understanding to realize why grieving and detaching from a narcissistic relationship is so difficult.  It also takes a lot of your own self-work to learn how to distance yourself from a toxic parent or relationship.  From my own experience, the healing during this process was two-fold.  First, I had to learn not to ask myself questions like “what did I do wrong,” and “why didn’t I see the writing on the wall so many times, “ and “are there things I could have/should have done to make the situation better before it got to this?”  When you are dealing with someone who has a personality disorder like narcissism you can drive your own self crazy reflecting on the “why’s” and “how’s” and “what if’s” of situations you never really had any control over to begin with.  We tell our children during the divorce process, and for years after, that the divorce is “not their fault.” The quicker you accept that the behaviors, words and actions, etc. of the narcissist in your life  “are not your fault,” the easier it becomes to cope.  Second, you must put great energy and effort into YOU, and discover your own personal ways to come to peace with the things you cannot control.  This seems so easy:  Take care of ME?  Of course, I can do that…. During and after living life with a narcissist, you must do that.

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My father moved to a quaint little home in a quaint new little town, all by himself.  Or so we thought he did.

I left college after two years of finally realizing how destructive to my own physical and mental self I was being while trying to cope with the secrets I knew, yet had not been communicated to me, or my sisters, by our father.  I felt a need to escape my world for a while, and I did. I left college and lived in a few different big cities, all by myself.  I landed a great “first real job” which allowed me to travel, and after some time, I felt like I was gaining a little bit of control back over my own life again.

My father lived several states away but I made an effort to visit him every two to three months.  Despite his multi-year affair and his decision to leave and destroy our family, he was still my “father.”  I felt sorry for him and found myself playing somewhat of a reverse-parent role; checking on him and taking care of things for him when I visited in hopes that he would acknowledge me, or own up to some of the great hurt he caused.  He never did that, but it didn’t stop my hopefulness that someday he would.  I cooked a lot of his favorite foods and baked cookies and packaged them in the freezer so he would have healthy meals when I wasn’t there.  Maybe it was my own young naïve coping mechanisms at that time, but it was the only way I knew how to try and maintain a relationship with my father, someone I didn’t feel I knew very well anymore after so many years.

About two years into working my real job in the real world, learning a few things about life, and myself, and keeping up the visits to my father, I decided to go back to college.  I knew I was ready to return then, much more than I ever felt I was ever ready to be there before, and I was excited to finish my degree.

Before I made that decision, I got a very random call from my father one afternoon letting me know that he had been living with his FF… the entire time I had been visiting him.  His call was very nonchalant, like this news should be no big deal to me.  Yep.  The whole time I was visiting him, and feeling sorry and sad for him all by himself (despite that being his choice), she was living there but would magically vanish when they knew I was coming to town.  There was not a trace of her belongings in the house, none that I ever noticed anyhow, and never a reason at all for me to believe she might have been there.

Narcissists seem to take advantage of the people who “feed” and nurture them regularly.  I have no idea how they pulled off her whole disappearing act when I came to town, but they did.  And did they care, or concern themselves with the feelings of others who might have been hurt by this secrecy and these lies?  Absolutely not.

It took a few more years of me going to counseling, dealing with a lot of my own personal struggles, and consequently growing stronger to finally get to the point where I agreed to meet the FF one day….

…and what an interesting occasion that was.

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

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

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

Divorcing a Narcissist: 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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“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.