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.”

The Only Witness The ExN Named for Our Trial Was…?? My ExN “Father.” Of Course.

The Only Witness The ExN Named for Our Trial Was…?? My ExN “Father.” Of Course.


witnessby Lucy K. Wright

You reach a point in all of this when you just have to Stop. Trying. To. Figure. Things. Out.

There are few to no answers to the “WHY does this keep happening” type of questions. You may as well quit beating yourself up and stop asking.

Dealing with your ExN and the constant zings that keep coming your way just seem to become part of your daily routine. Get up, get the kids ready for school, grab your coffee for the long commute to work, tend to your career and responsibilities, get an email of some negative sort from the ExN, probably swing by your lawyer’s office, or call your counselor to discuss it, or maybe even take a trip to the courthouse depending on what the ExN came up with that day…

…then mentally put all of that in the back of your mind, because it stings, even just a little still, no matter how much you are told not to let it, and you don’t want it to keep affecting the rest of your life and all of the good in it, but it’s hard not to…

…then you put on a smile, continue home to kids and homework and making family dinner, and carry on just as you know how you need to. Your head eventually hits the pillow and you lay there, the first quiet of the day. You remind yourself that you are strong, and thank the higher beings above for surviving and getting through one more day. You are thankful, and know how far you’ve come with each step in this daunting, dealing-with-a narcissist-in-your-life, process. It’s a good feeling, even though some days are still really tough.

My temporary hearing is set for this summer. If that time slot doesn’t work out, there is a firm date set for next year. We’ve been going through a second PRE evaluation, coordinating with lawyers, counselors, personality tests, etc. while continuing to juggle everything else in our normal lives. An evaluation process is grueling. It’s tough on the kids, especially as they keep asking WHY we are “still talking about divorce stuff”… so many years later.

I saw the ExN recently at our kid’s school event. I wanted to shout at him and say “You would rather put us all through this hell, especially your kids, than talk to me and try to work anything out.” Yes. He would. He filed for joint custody two days before I got remarried. Three weeks prior, before he knew about the wedding and while we were attempting mediation, he did not want joint custody. It wasn’t even on his list of items to mediate.

None of this is about the kids. It’s about him always being angry and continuing to do anything he can to punish me. Still, so many years later, and probably for many years to come.

We had to submit our witness lists to the courts within a specified timeframe prior to the trial. His was late. Of course. My witnesses included a handful of the mental health professionals who have helped my kids and me. I did not want to drag my family and friends into this any more than they already have been, so I just included the professionals.

His list? It consisted of one person, and one person only. My “father.” My narcissistic “father” who dismissed me from his life many years ago in favor of his surrogate narcissistic “son.” My “father” is allegedly going to profess that he knows the children do not want to go back to my home after they have been in the care of their “active and child-centered” father.

My “father” has no relationship with two out of three of his daughters, and the third is a stretch. And he is a credible source of making these assessments and judging someone’s parenting skills…how?

Seeing my “fathers” name on a court document, again, so boldly speaking out against me, his daughter, stung just a little bit. It’s spiteful and ugly and they know it. Or do they? I often wonder.

I’ve pondered many WHY questions with my counselors; why would a father behave like this; why he would speak out against me not even knowing my side of the story because he never even bothered to ask; why does he do this and continue to hurt me when I didn’t do anything to him but try and be the perfect daughter always; why; why; why…???

I don’t know what is ultimately going to happen throughout all of this. I am doing my best, which is all we can ever do, making my case, standing tall and keeping strong. But in the end, a judge, who does not know my family or me at all, will ultimately decide. He or she will make the decisions about our future and the schedule the kids will keep between my home and his.

You reach a point in all of this when you just have to Stop. Trying. To. Figure. Things. Out. And you put your head on the pillow each night and say a small prayer of thanks. Despite the obstacles, we must remember the good. I look at my kids each day they are with me and I know they are the good, and the reason I keep up this fight. I’ve thought about throwing in the towel a few times and just saying, fine, let’s end this, whatever he wants. I’ve become tired and grumpy and difficult to be around some days, I know that and bless my family for putting up with me!   I recognize my mood swings now more than I ever have before, and they change back to positive more quickly now than ever before; before it took several days for me to make a small move forward sometimes back to the glass half full that I usually am. I fully admit that sometimes this can just all be way too much and it definitely takes its toll on all of us.

But I am not going to say the words: Ok, fine, I give in, and go that route. Give an inch, take a mile. He doesn’t even know what he wants most of the time anyhow. It changes. It’s about punishing me. It’s not about the kids one bit.

If it comes down to it, I will face my “father” in court when the day comes. It will take a lot of mental prep work, but I’ve been to this rodeo before. I was a wreck facing him in the past under these circumstances. But I have lived and learned, and this time I will be strong. I will be ok.

We all may lose a few battles along the way during our own fights against our own narcissists in life; but in the end, I do believe we will win this war. We keep doing what we are doing because we love our kids and our kids need us. They are what matter the most.

~LLS~ Lucy K.

“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: One Year of Peace

Divorcing a Narcissist: One Year of Peace

anniversaryby Tina Swithin

One year ago this month, I wrote my most popular blog to date: “Divorcing a Narcissist: It’s Over!” People all over the world rejoiced with me when I announced the end of my battle. I was successful in obtaining something that I had fought so hard for: the safety of my children.

This past week (July 10th) was the one year anniversary of my final court date and I spent the week on a houseboat at Lake Powell — far away from cell phones, computers and the chaos of the world. I had time to reflect on everything that had happened and how far we’ve come.

  • It’s officially been one year since we’ve seen Seth. In line with my prediction on the day we received the verdict, the ego of a Narcissist is not equipped to deal with supervised visits.
  • The small handful of emails that I’ve received over the past year evoke pity instead of fear.
  • Piper and Sarah are both thriving as well-adjusted 7 and 9 year olds free from night terrors and daytime, anxiety-induced potty accidents.
  • The girls feel safe to create boundaries now that Seth is out of the picture. They have actually refused his calls for the past four months which has been supported by their therapist.
  • Last month, Piper felt safe enough to write a very powerful letter to Seth while in her therapists office. I sent this letter to Seth at her request. Obviously, it was met with denial and twisted to fit Seth’s agenda but nonetheless, it allowed her to take her power back free from his wrath.
  • The girls have chosen to use my last name versus Seth’s last name. Obviously, this can’t be legally changed however, their school has accommodated their request at the academic level.
  • We have peace. Finally. Thankfully.

This experience and my decision to blog about my journey has united a community of the most amazing people I’ve ever encountered. One thing I’ve discovered is that narcissists target people with the qualities and traits that they themselves lack. Some of the traits that lure in a narcissist are: kindness, compassion, caring, empathy, concern, love, tenderness, faithfulness. These are just a few of the traits that describe this group of warrior parents at One Mom’s Battle. I am grateful that my journey has brought me to this group. The Administrators of One Mom’s Battle are leaders who have been in the trenches or who remain in the trenches. My gratitude is beyond worlds. We’ve come a long way, baby!

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin at Tina Swithin, LLC

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

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: The $5 Challenge

Divorcing a Narcissist: The $5 Challenge

grassrootsby Tina Swithin

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

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

I need your help. 

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

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

I ask each of you to donate just FIVE DOLLARS.

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

Thank you so much- in advance.  #ittakesavillage

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin at Tina Swithin, LLC

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

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

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

rosesby Lucy K. Wright

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

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

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

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

He said it over and over and over again.

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

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

Big mistake.

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

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

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

What?

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

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

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

I felt like I was going crazy.

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

~LLS~ Lucy K. Wright

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin at Tina Swithin, LLC

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

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

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

narc decoderby Tina Swithin

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

Good question.

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

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

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

Tina,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your consideration, Seth

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

Here is the decoder version of Seth’s email:

Tina,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin at Tina Swithin, LLC

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

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

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

Filing-for-Divorceby Lucy K. Wright

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

I told him I wanted a divorce.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eight weeks later I filed for divorce again.

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

~LLS~ Lucy K.

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin at Tina Swithin, LLC

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

Divorcing a Narcissist: Finding my Life Mission

Divorcing a Narcissist: Finding my Life Mission

purposeby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin at Tina Swithin, LLC

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

The Narcissistic Damage: Repair Your Foundation

The Narcissistic Damage: Repair Your Foundation

collegeby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Contact Tina Swithin at Tina Swithin, LLC

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

 

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: 11 Months Post Seth

Divorcing a Narcissist: 11 Months Post Seth

narc decoderby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

The texts continued through the night:

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

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

Out comes the Narc Decoder:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spyware-indexby Lucy K. Wright

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~LLS~  Lucy K.

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

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

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

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