Tag Archives: narcissistic personality disorder

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 Narc Decoder: Ficus on your Husband (A Classic Email from Seth)

The Narc Decoder: Ficus on your Husband (A Classic Email from Seth)
narc decoderby Tina Swithin
The “Narc Decoder” began as a way to find light in the darkness. In the beginning of my divorce, Seth’s emails would often make me crumble to the ground. As time went on and I got stronger, I began to see right through his attempts to control and intimidate through written communication and the Narc Decoder (patent pending) was born as a way for me to cope with the craziness. Humor is truly the best medicine. A few weeks ago, I sent Seth an email regarding the impending supervised visits and my meeting with minor’s counsel. I had been made aware of the recent police report documenting Seth’s fifth victim since our divorce proceedings began. While this is victim #5, this one was especially troublesome because it occurred during our 3111 custody evaluation.This was Seth’s response to my email and apparently. the police report is a “hypothesis:”
Tina-  First off, I don’t care about your hypothesis.You’re spending child support money to write books no one reads about me.Second, you’re infatuated with me and you need to ficus on your new husband not me. So move on.

Third you’re a narcissist. Your pictures by photographers you hire are all over your little corner of social media and you with your 36 book fans are a pathetic breed. Keep it up with your nonsense while our daughters suffer from your egomania output to get losers to believe it’s okay to cheat on a husband. You will never absolve yourself yourself for your lies and selfishness in your heart.  -Seth

And into the “Narc Decoder” it goes….Snap…Crackle…Pop….Decoded!

Tina – First off, I don’t care that you have an official police report in hand. I am currently trying to concoct a story that will make this entire incident your fault. Everything is your fault in case you weren’t aware. You just sit back and wait to see what kind of story I come up with! I’m sure that you and the girl I was dating were actually in cahoots on this entire thing. Never mind the fact that you are on the west coast and she is on the east coast. I’m positive that this was all a set up and her father was probably the officer who showed up at the hotel to take the report. Now that I think about it, she is probably your third cousin twice removed. YOU set me up and forced the 23 alcoholic beverages that preceded the assault down my throat from 3,000 miles away….and you thought that you were going to get away with this! HA!

I am sure that if I keep mentioning child support money, people will believe that I pay you every month. Who cares about that measly $40,812.36 in arrears! Do you know that it eats at me that you’ve written books that tell the truth about me. I checked your Amazon reviews for the 93rd time today and you had a new review! You are now up to 265 reviews and both books are holding at 5-stars. I HATE that you are successful because it goes against everything I’ve ever told you! I hate that so many people know the truth about me.

Second, I am infatuated with myself. Why aren’t you infatuated with me…didn’t you hear all of the great things my mom said about me? Why won’t you listen, dammit!? By the way, I don’t want you to orchid or fern on your new husband. I want you to ficus on him. Wait..I never misspelled anything or made any mistakes prior to meeting YOU. Your white trash upbringing has affected my spelling. I knew it! See what you’ve done! I wrote “ficus” instead of “focus” and its all your fault. Move on and stop making me make mistakes. (Note from Tina: credit to Laura in Southern California for the ficus humor!)

Third, I’m a narcissist. Wait…I think I am actually a sociopath but I know that is a big word for you. By the way, the pictures you use of your coaching website prove that you are a narcissist also. It is very clear that in an effort to save money, you used your wedding photos versus having new photos taken…who was your photographer, by the way? I am in need of some new photos for my dating profiles. I am hoping for the “Fortune 500″ look which will go right along with what I am telling women. Did I mention that the people who read your books and blog are right up my alley?…an entire group of kind, loving, empathetic women. Do you have any of their phone numbers? I am actually on the hunt for my next victim and I love people with the qualities that I lack. I would appreciate it greatly if you would STOP educating the masses. You are eating up my dating pool every single day. By the way. I am still telling people that you cheated on me even though we both know that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Someone will eventually believe it. Won’t they? Will you just say you did because it would sure help my victim story. Please? -Seth

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

Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries and regain your power. 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.

Turning 40 and Adjusting My Sails

Turning 40 and Adjusting My Sails

sailsby Tina Swithin

I am not a football fan but I know a good end zone dance when I see one. I am currently heading for the end zone – the end of a decade. This week, I turn 40 years old. At first, like many of my peers, I struggled with the thought of leaving my 30’s until a few things put it all into perspective for me.

  1. I lost some longtime friends over the past year. Not because of a falling out or a silly argument. It was much bigger than that. Several amazing women that I’ve known since elementary school faced cancer bravely but in the end, it succeeded in taking them from their friends, their family and this world. It felt pretty petty to complain about a new year of life when there are people unable to enjoy another day…or another breath. In their honor, I will embrace my 40’s the way I embrace everything. With life. With love. With all of my being.
  2. I could look at the negatives and dwell on them or, I could look at the picture as a whole and focus on the positives  and on all that I have accomplished over the past ten years. Here are just a few of the moments that stand out in my mind over the past decade:
  • I was handed a diagnosis of MS months before turning 30 which at the time, was a devastating blow. I then embarked on a long and windy road filled with numerous doctors, hospital stays, lab tests and various treatment plans. Through this journey, I have taken the lemons and made lemonade while trying to stay positive.
  • Weeks before my 30th birthday, I discovered that I was pregnant with my first daughter. That year, I learned what it meant to be selfless. I learned that the love you have for your child is a love that you can never describe. In April of 2005, I held my baby for the first time and my life forever changed.
  • At the age of 32, the love that I had for my daughter expanded to include a second daughter. During my pregnancy, I wondered how I could love another child the same way I loved my little girl but those concerns were quickly dismissed when they placed a 6lb 9oz baby girl in my arms in April of 2007.
  • At the age of 34, my marriage ended and I embarked on a journey that few will ever be able to understand. I am thankful that they don’t understand because it is a journey that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
  • That same year, I found God. He had been there all along. He wasn’t hiding- I had been. For the first time in my life, I had faith.
  • Months later, and very unexpectedly, I met my best friend. It just so happened that my best friend turned out to be tall, dark, handsome and the kindest, most honest man I had ever met. Thus began a type of love that I didn’t know existed.
  • At the age of 37, I had this silly little idea to start a blog. That blog has morphed into two books and a movement that I could have never envisioned.
  • At the age of 38, I married by best friend and together; we have five children ranging from the age of 25 all the way down to 7. His are grown and out of the house…mine are not. We are the modern day Brady Bunch complete with all the chaos and craziness that you would expect. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
  • Just three months after my wedding, I was successful in my plight to protect my daughters. Anyone who has been in the Family Court System with a narcissist knows how monumental this is. A full 14 months of peace ensued following this life-changing day.
  • At the age of 39, I launched a non-profit organization which will work to educate the Family Court System on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and a coaching business which allows me to educate and empower those in the trenches. I have discovered what it means to “find  your passion” and everything that has happened over the past ten years makes complete sense.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be. It all makes sense. The good times, the bad times and even the times when I waived my fists in the air and cried. The times when I crumbled to the floor and questioned my faith. It all makes sense and I am thankful to be where I am today. I am at the end of a decade and I am doing my own version of an end zone dance.  – Love, 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 a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries and regain your power. 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.

 

 

Peter Cook and Suzanne Shaw Divorce: Cheating Again

Peter Cook and Suzanne Shaw Divorce: Cheating Again

peterby Tina Swithin

This one can be labeled  under, “We all saw it coming” but, I will be honest in saying that the marriage of Peter Cook and Suzanne Shaw Cook lasted much longer than I expected. Following a case like this can be somewhat boring because all narcissists use the same playbook (yaaawnnnn). In the beginning of the case, Peter took responsibility for his actions in a way that only narcissists do: I’m sorry but it was all Christie’s fault that I strayed. A half-ass apology and then victim blaming. Typical.

Peter then quickly moved on to Suzanne Shaw because, as we all know, they can’t be without Narcissistic Supply for very long. Suzanne quickly jumped on the “bash Christie” bandwagon and became Peter’s prized minion carrying out his dirty work and bashing and blaming Christie at every opportunity. The goal for Peter was to stay in the spotlight while carrying out his main agenda: hurting the woman who first saw through  him.  In predictable narcissistic fashion, Peter holds Christie responsible for the public lashing he took when it was discovered that he had carried on a two year affair with Diana Bianchi. This two-year affair was discovered when Ms. Bianchi was 17-years old. I will let you do the math on her age when the affair began.

Do I blame Suzanne Shaw? I don’t blame her because I have been charmed by an individual like Peter Cook and have since dedicated my life to raising awareness on the topic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Peter Cook was diagnosed by a court appointed psychiatrist as an “insatiable narcissist” with a porn habit costing thousands of dollars per month. Described in today’s NY Post article as “a cheater” and a “creep” along with words like “narcissist” and “desperate,” I’m not usually one to say, “I told you so” but in this situation, we all knew it was a matter of time….

This current issue with Peter Cook goes to show the depths of his illness and evil. As early as last week, he was still groveling to the National Enquirer about Christie Brinkley because at this point, that is the only media outlet who will listen to his rants and all the while, his marriage secretly ended back in February according to media reports. This man is so hell-bent on trying to destroy Christie Brinkley’s reputation and so arrogant that he hoped that no one would pick up on the fact that he continued to jump from one woman to another while sporting a wedding ring. Peter Cook is the definition of vile.

I hope this serves as a teachable moment for all women dating. Pay attention to internal red flags when dating and pay attention to external red flags – such as the words and experiences of others who have walked before you. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck….it might just be a duck. If it sleeps in other women’s beds like a narcissist (while married) and talks (lies, projects and re-creates reality) like a narcissist….it might just be a narcissist.

It will be interesting to see if we hear more from Suzanne Shaw, my guess based on the statement by Peter’s attorney leads me to believe that Suzanne has been hushed with a narcissist’s most prized possession: money.

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

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

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

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

Divorcing a Narcissist: Finding my Life Mission

Divorcing a Narcissist: Finding my Life Mission

purposeby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Narcissistic Damage: Repair Your Foundation

The Narcissistic Damage: Repair Your Foundation

collegeby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: 11 Months Post Seth

Divorcing a Narcissist: 11 Months Post Seth

narc decoderby Tina Swithin

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

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

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

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

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

The texts continued through the night:

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

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

Out comes the Narc Decoder:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield (Foreword)

Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield (Foreword)

Front coverby Rebecca Davis Merritt 

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or other Cluster B personality disorders such as Antisocial and Borderline) emotionally abuse those in their daily family lives. This emotional abuse is a form of domestic violence affecting the other parent, children, extended family, and institutional settings (school and family court) have to deal with this abuse. Narcissistic parents will harm their children even if they love them because their impaired empathy and hypersensitivity to real and imagined wrongs causes them to blame the other parent, to lash out at people they perceive to not be on their side, and to do everything in their power to convince the family court system of their superiority over the other parent. Narcissists vary in their abilities to hide their abusive side in the presence of esteemed others; those with better impression management skills are more successful in their court battles. If Narcissists gain primary custody of their children they usually move toward alienating the children from their other parent, delighting in not following parenting time guidelines or court documents.  If they do not gain primary custody they generally moved toward painting the other parents as responsible for their estrangement from the children instead of acknowledging behaviors directed toward the other parent and children have made the children distrusting of them and skeptical of spending safe time with them. The narcissist will try to use parental alienation by the healthy parent to convince the court of the need to switch custody.  Such a switch places the children in a consistently emotionally and/or physically abusive environment. The Narcissist “gaslights” the children and other parent, trying to convince them that the other parent is at fault for everything, cannot be trusted, and that the children MUST obey and support him/her at every moment.  Phone calls or Skype parenting time with other parent will be heavily monitored, children will be coached, and contact will end if they misspeak.  Clear guidelines need to be placed in parenting time documents regarding no monitoring of electronic parenting time, no confiscation of tablets or phones used in this communication, with sanctions outlined for violation.

Tina Swithin, is a dynamic individual with a mission to increase awareness of narcissism and its impact upon shared parenting and divorce among the judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad litems, Parenting Coordinators, and attorneys handling divorce and custody cases in our family court systems. Her Facebook group is viewed by thousands of people navigating the treacherous courtroom terrain associated with leaving a narcissist and protecting their children from narcissistic rage, gas lighting, and emotional abuse. Her online community is a village of survivors united in problem solving and making positive educational and dynamic changes in the family court system.  Tina and her village hope to get court personnel to realize that one disturbed individual can create and maintain high conflict divorce cases inundating the court with years of unnecessary grievances while tasking the economic and psychological resources of the unaffected parent.  The demand upon the court’s time created by vengeful narcissists could be lessened if court personnel could identify patterns associated with Cluster B personality disorders, recognize the need of a thorough psychological evaluation for such people, understand the need for clear sanctions (including making the disturbed parent responsible for legal representation bills of the other parent), and take timely steps to protect children and the other parent. It is my fervent hope that Tina’s books will make their way into the courtrooms of every family court judge as well as all domestic violence agencies.

Tina developed her expertise and knowledge the hard way – marrying and divorcing a narcissist.  I (Rebecca Davis Merritt); developed my expertise the easy way, years of graduate school, obtaining the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, working as a professor at Purdue University for more than 20 years where I taught doctoral students how to assess, diagnose, and treat individuals with personality disorders. My skill set included a good understanding of the dynamics driving Cluster B personality disorders.  When a family member married and divorced an individual with these dynamics I observed the damage experienced by children when the court is slow to recognize the severity of Cluster B disorders and fail to protect promptly children.  Court often assumes both parties are equally to blame for creating and maintaining a high conflict case, so the unaffected parent is treated as skeptically as the narcissistic parent.  This is confusing to the unaffected parent who often listens to the narcissist spouting lies in the courtroom and describing self as the most devoted, caring parent.  The courts may eventually recognize the need to take action and protect children of narcissistic parents but the slowness to take action results in prolonged emotional abuse during crucial developmental stages.  Thousands of men and women in the family court system are battling with a narcissist, their children are not being protected, and the court may grant primary custody to the narcissist who is able to glibly lie and manipulate in court.  Narcissistic parents voluntarily delinquent in child support will cry in court as they protest their undying love for their children and yet judges will fail to recognize the discrepancy between courtroom statements and their behaviors outside of the courtroom brought to the courts attention (not paying child support when they have the ability to do so, emotionally and/or physically harming the children, stalking/threatening the other parent etc.). When unaffected parents become anxious or depressed from dealing with the narcissist’s abusive behaviors, they may be deemed psychologically unstable, placing them at risk of losing custody to the abuser.  When their children report emotional abuse by the narcissistic parent, the courts and CPS too frequently conclude that the unaffected parent is alienating the children from the narcissistic parent.  It is a challenge of immense proportion to set and maintain appropriate boundaries within the family and within the family court setting with narcissists.  A careful reading of Tina’s book Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield (ISBN-10: 0615986344) will help the unaffected parent increase their coping strategies and skills in dealing with a narcissist and helping their children recognize when and how to set boundaries with their narcissistic parent.  This book will also be a valuable resource for all those participating in family court as it will help them develop an understanding of narcissism and its impact upon families and the court. Finally for those just learning about narcissism Tina’s first book “Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” (ISBN-10: 0615720552), “Divorce Poison” by Richard Warshak (ISBN-10: 0061862162), and “Splitting” by Bill Eddy (ISBN: 1608820254) should be useful.

NOTE FROM TINA: I thought it was very important to share this message and I encourage you to share Rebecca’s words with attorneys, GALs, social workers, Judges, etc.  Thank you for being a part of this amazing little village.

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

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

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

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

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Taking the First Brave Step Away from a Narcissist

Taking the First Brave Step Away from a Narcissist

braveby Lucy K. Wright

“Courage is Found in Unlikely Places”  ― J.R.R.Tolkien

My best friend is a police officer.  We have been friends for many years, and he has been a good listener to me during my trials and tribulations in dealing with my ExN.  He has heard me yell in anger, cry heavy tears, and endlessly question why this situation with my ExN never seems to end.  He reminds me often that my ExN “is broken,” and no, it probably will never end. I can tell him anything and he doesn’t judge me.  He generally sits quietly, dumbfounded by many of the haunting stories I tell from my past. He has been a true supportive friend, offering his unconditional help and encouragement throughout the years.

I am lucky to have such a good friend and I know it.

_______________________

My police officer friend told me a story not long ago about a domestic violence situation he was called to deal with at work.  The call involved a woman, whose name I do not know, but whom I will call Valiente.

Valiente lived in fear of her abusive husband.  Her husband was irate that particular evening. She was terrified to call for help, dreading her husband would be even angrier and more abusive than he already had been that night. She was worried about her kids being safe.

My friend spoke with Valiente, and in starting to hear her words, he said he kept thinking about me.  He has heard my story, and through my eyes, he has a more intimate understanding of being “the victim” in this type of domestic violence situation. She was in the same situation I was in, when I was taking my first steps forward several years ago.

He listened as Valiente’s friend told him how terrified Valiente was of her husband.  And, how Valiente didn’t think she had the strength to call for help, but she knew it was time and that she had to, for her kids and for herself.  Valiente’s friend said Valiente had been thinking about calling the police for a long time, but fear held her back.  She was fearful of him, her Narcissistic abusive husband.

My police officer friend told Valiente that she was brave, and that he was proud of her for calling for help.  He said she smiled.

_______________________

I cried when my friend told me this story.

It’s terrifying to take the first steps.  Instinctively you know as a woman and a mother you are at a point of needing help before things get worse.

The morning I knew, it was very early, the kids were still asleep, and the ExN was standing over me in bed.  I sensed him and heard him, but I kept my eyes closed in fear, my heart was rapidly pounding.  I thought he was really going to hurt me that morning, to the point I didn’t know if I would recover.  I kept thinking about my kids.  Who would I help them if I wasn’t there?  That was the morning I knew I needed to get out, and the morning I knew I needed a plan to get help.

My police officer friend is a good man and a committed loyal citizen who performs his job with honor and integrity.  I know he would have “done the right thing,” in dealing with Valiente and her situation that evening whether he knew my story or not.  I also know he was a little more understanding and sympathetic to this woman because he did know my story, and he appreciated how tough it was for her be asking him for assistance that evening.  He understood.

________________________

In Spanish, “Valiente” means brave.

I send a big hug to the woman whose name I do not know, but whom I name Valiente.  I know how much courage it took for you to call for help.  And I, too, am proud of you for being so Brave.

~LLS~  Lucy K.

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

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

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

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

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Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott: Watching a Narcissist in Action

Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott: Watching a Narcissist in Action

toriby Tina Swithin

I still remember watching Beverly Hills 90210 in high school and being completely enthralled with the show as a 16-year old girl. I will be the first to admit that my guilty pleasure for years has been reality television. My interest in reality television has evolved in recent years due to my work surrounding personality disorders. The cameras seem to attract personality disordered individuals like moths on my porch light. I find myself fascinated that there isn’t more awareness surrounding Narcissistic Personality Disorder as it is increasingly prevalent and very obvious on shows like The Real Housewives and now, True Tori.

Yesterday, we received a message on the One Mom’s Battle Facebook page that said the following:

True Tori…is on Tuesday nights on the Lifetime channel (10Eastern/9Central). It’s a reality show following the aftermath of Tori Spelling’s cheating, alcohol/sex/drug addict husband and whether she is going to stay or leave him.

He is a classic narcissist or worse a sociopath narcissist who has Tori and her counselor jumping through his manipulative hoops. He is a masterful puppet master who does not own up to what he has done and he will not allow Tori to speak her feelings he is constantly interrupting and turning everything back to him.

If you go to Lifetime.com then click on “TrueTori” you can watch the first two episodes. It’s interesting to watch a narc in action from this side. And yes she cheated on her husband with this man but if you truly have educated yourself on the behavior of a narc especially love bombing, pity play, gas lighting abuse you will know that she was conned out of her marriage and right into a marriage with this narc. So out of respect of another women (Tori) who is just a victim of a narcissist I hope that you will give her the same respect that you deserve as a victim. Thank you.

I’ve grown up watching Tori Spelling on television and have watched her “Tori and Dean” reality television a handful of times over the years. Something never sat right with me as I watched their perfect life which always seemed too perfect. It reminded me of the fake life I once lived. I would see media stories about Tori discussing their money issues and then hear that Dean McDermott was angered by her honesty. Now, watching their current reality television series, “True Tori” has put all of the pieces together for me.  It’s almost painful to watch.

I encourage you to watch the episodes but I will warn you, his behavior is a trigger for anyone who has been with a Narcissist or a sociopath. I have watched Dean McDermott sit on the couch of Dr. Ann Wexler over the past two episodes and it brought up so many memories for me. I am in shock that the Doctor is actually being manipulated and jumping through the hoops McDermott is holding out for her. He is presenting classic narcissistic behavior and my heart goes out to Tori Spelling. I hope that she becomes educated on Narcissistic Personality Disorder quickly.

In true narcissistic fashion, Dean has taken his affair and turned it around to be Tori’s fault for not giving him enough sex (while she’s running around caring for four small children), he then creates a pity party surrounding his rough past and addictions and finally, he re-claims the spotlight whenever she tries to share her hurt or her feelings by talking about suicide and having a breakdown. If his breakdown is actually real, it has more to do that he has been exposed and nothing to do with the fact that he cheated on his wife.

Here is a link to the episodes on Lifetime: True Tori

I agree with the woman who posted on the Facebook page, it is very interesting to watch a narcissist in action.

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

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

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

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

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: The Phone Calls

Divorcing a Narcissist: The Phone Calls

step dadby Tina Swithin

It’s been over four months since we’ve seen Seth yet he continues to call every Wednesday night.

He often says things like, “I’m at Barnes and Noble and I’m going to buy you some books.” or, “I really miss you- I wish there was a way that I could see you.” or better yet, when Piper told him that she was going to start taking horse back riding lessons, he replied by saying, “I don’t know how I feel about that. It’s really dirty and muddy.”

My two cents:

  • You haven’t bothered to see your daughters in 4.5 months yet we are suppose to confer with you about how you FEEL about dirt and mud?
  • You COULD figure out a way to see your children. You are CHOOSING not too because your ego is bigger than your love for your daughters.

Today was a great reminder that my daughters will be okay. Better than that, they are thriving.  Today was Glenn’s birthday and Piper came into our bedroom this morning with a hand made card. The card said,

Dear Glenn- You are the best step-dad & dad ever! You are all of our dreams come true. You are the perfect Glenn. -Piper

Despite the damage that Seth can do in one phone call, Glenn and his relationship with the girls gives me hope that our story has a happy ending.

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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.