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.”

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Raising Healthy Children

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Raising Healthy Children

OMB Healthy Childrenby Rebecca Davis-Merritt

Remember your journey with the Cluster B in your life: the lies, manipulation, wooing, broken promises, his/her victim status but how at first you fell in love with the charisma and apparent ability to look into your soul. You may have thought s/he was your soul mate. Now your eyes and thoughts are unclouded. You see the Cluster B in a non-distorted way but your children are caught up in the Cluster B world during their parenting time. How do you help protect your children by teaching them to recognize manipulation, to set healthy boundaries, but not badmouth their other parent (recommended reading: Divorce Poison)? You have to arm your children to make it to adulthood relatively unscathed from their love for and contact with a Cluster B parent.

Ideally your children will have an excellent therapist who understands domestic violence (the emotional abuse and extreme need for power and control of a Cluster B is DV, although not all DV agencies understand this. See the Duluth Model of DV power wheel). Many DV agencies have support groups for children that teach them to recognize pathological need for power and control and how to protect themselves from abusers. Hopefully they have a very healthy other parent in you who understands the pathology of Cluster B, resists their efforts to antagonize, bait, and agitate you, is able to “grey rock it” by not showing emotion to Cluster B, communicating only via email or Our Family Wizard, Two House, Talking Parents, etc, and who teaches the children empathy in various ways. Start by reading aloud a Bucket Book (Amazon) to children 3-9. This costs around $10 and is a powerful tool for parents and children. The child learns about bucket fillers (kind people) and bucket dippers (angry,controlling, bullies). They learn the relationship between kindness and thoughtfulness and feeling safe and happy or the relationship between meanness and feeling unsafe and unhappy. Parents can help children understand how empathy is related to people choosing to respect others’ feelings and lack of empathy is not caring and often deliberately hurting others.

Many OMB parents teach their children that empathy is important by volunteer activities serving the vulnerable or by having zip lock packs of food, water, and grooming supplies in the car to give to homeless individuals. Even TV and movies can be a teaching tool. Frozen depicts a Cluster B who is charming, wooed his way into Anna’s heart  but turns out to be a lying scoundrel. This provides a good discussion about how first impressions do not matter as much as longterm behaviors and how we always need to date someone a long time observing them in many environments and situations before giving our heart to them. It can also lead to a discussion of the qualities important in a husband/father or wife/mother. Healthy parents have to seize every teachable moment to arm their children in a protective manner. They also have to learn how to deprogram their children without bad mouthing their other parent when the children return from parenting time in demoralized, angry, or confused states.

TV and movies have many examples of when a boundary set by a person is violated by another. Help your children recognize such boundary intrusions. The first step in children learning to set boundaries is the belief they have the right to safely do so. Safely means the boundary will be acknowledged and respected, not ignored, made fun of, etc. Children need much practice with their healthy parent in understanding everyone sets boundaries but not all people have the same types of boundaries. Eventually the child will understand boundaries, realize they have the right for appropriate boundaries to be respected. At this time they can then, especially if familiar with bucket book philosophy, learn that there are people who refuse to honor other people’s boundaries. They are bucket dippers and they intentionally violate others’ boundaries because it makes them feel powerful. They like to bully and boss others. At this point children learn the difference in trustworthy and untrustworthy people. Unfortunately for children with Cluster B parents, their parent is often the latter.

It is very scary for a child to set a healthy boundary with a Cluster B parent. It might be saying, “stop talking about mom/dad that way.” Setting the boundary will likely result in punishment and a Cluster B tantrum designed to bully the child into feeling sorry for or fearing the Cluster B. Yet it is important that the child feels empowered to set healthy boundaries and to do so when motivated. Otherwise the child grows up catering to pathology and avoiding confrontation often picking their own life partner to recreate such dynamics. It is also okay for children to know what boundary they wish to set but to acknowledge it would not be safe for them to do it with their Cluster B parent. This is not avoidance but self-protection. This information needs to be shared with therapist, GAL, etc. It is up to the healthy parent to give their children the cognitive tools  to understand empathy, lack of empathy, excessive need of power and control, manipulation (tv commercials are great examples), and boundaries. If you respect your child, allow appropriate boundaries, and model empathy and kindness you are cultivating the best environment for your children to flourish, withstand a Cluster B parent without developing pathological narcissistic, manipulative features themselves. Examine yourself. Have you done enough self improvement to be the kind of parent who can provide this environment for your child? If not find your own therapist, join your own DV support group, join an OMB state chapter and participate in meetings, check out OMB’s suggested reading list and start educating yourself more intensively.

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

The Lemonade Club, Tina Swithin’s private forum is now live! Seeking a place to share, connect and find help during your custody battle with a narcissist?  TLC is the answer and is now accepting applications – the group will be limited to the first 250 approved applicants.

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. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

One Mom’s Battle Updates from Tina Swithin

One Mom’s Battle Updates from Tina Swithin

Thank_You_Beach_620by Tina Swithin

There are so many changes happening with One Mom’s Battle – this particular blog post is bittersweet as it marks the end of a journey that has been full of extreme highs and lows, happiness, sadness and finally, peace. I had no idea that starting this blog in 2011 would alter the course of my life. At the time, I was just one mom. When I started this blog, I felt incredibly alone — the blog became my confidant, my outlet and my dear friend during the darkest period of my life. There were times that I wrote things that I never published – my deepest fears and most personal thoughts were captured both publicly and privately. The One Mom’s Battle movement is gaining momentum and we are headed in a direction that exceeds anything I ever dreamt possible. For that reason, this will be my last personal blog.

One Mom’s Battle (OMB) is no longer about me. This movement is SO much bigger than me- thanks to all of you.

One Mom’s Battle recently turned into a non-profit organization with the potential to change lives, educate the masses and reach those who are feeling desperate and alone. Our main mission and driving force is to educate the Family Court System on Cluster B personality disorders so that no child experiences the heartache and abuse that my daughters endured…and that your children endure. It is my hope that no one ever feels alone in this battle and my heart swells with pride when I see the massive outreach taking place every day on the OMB Facebook page. Our Facebook pages are run by the most dedicated group of volunteers I have ever encountered. It’s a place of community and it’s a place of education.

A few weeks ago, we held our first OMB Board Meeting where I am volunteering as Board President. We’ve divided into a variety of sub-committees and we are going full steam ahead fueled by incredible amounts of passion and purpose. The Board Members are my family – strong, inspirational and driven to fight for Children’s Rights. We have an amazing board, a strong advisory committee and our Executive Director is one of the most inspirational warrior parents that I’ve ever encountered. The OMB Board of Directors is a true Dream Team. We look forward to updating you on “everything OMB” in the coming months.   Cheers to education and making changes – from my coffee cup to yours!

I sit here writing from my favorite little beach-side coffee shop in 88 degree California weather. I love coming here – it’s my secret spot where I rarely run into anyone that I know. I even have a favorite booth in the back corner where I can people-watch and reflect on past, present and future. Today I am reflecting on the many changes in my life over the past year – and the fact that the most prevalent feeling in my life is contentment. I am thankful to the Family Court System for finally “getting it.” I wish this feeling for everyone.

As I mentioned above, this will be my final personal blog. My battle is over. My case was won on the basis of emotional abuse – while this is rare, it gives me hope that others will follow in my footsteps. What is next for me?  As many of you know, I recently took a huge plunge and quit my career in Public Relations to dedicate myself to my new role as a Divorce Coach for survivors of Cluster B relationships and for those enduring high conflict custody battles. In addition, I am writing my third book and plan to facilitate annual retreats (the first one will be held November 6-8, 2015). If you’d like to follow my personal blog and stay informed on retreats or events that I am facilitating and new book releases, please visit me at www.tinaswithin.com and sign up (bottom right) for my monthly e-newsletter. To participate in my November retreat, please email me at tina@onemomsbattle.com.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you for cheering me on during my court battles. Thank you for your emails, text messages and snail mail. Thank you for believing in me when I was living on coffee, not sleeping and buried in piles of court documents. Thank you for sharing your stories and your heart with me over the past four years. Thank you for being a part of my journey.  Thank you!  – In love and deep gratitude, Tina Swithin

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

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. 

Seeking a Divorce Coach to guide you through your custody battle? Visit Tina Swithin’s website or her personal Facebook page where she shares daily inspiration and gratitude.

Divorcing a Narcissist: Gratitude. What are you grateful for today?

Divorcing a Narcissist: Gratitude. What are you grateful for today?

2014-11-26-gratitude2by Lucy K. Wright

“Believe in yourself, and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle” (Christian Larson)

There is always something to be thankful for.

The online community of OMB has brought Strong Warrior Parents together to share, to listen, and to learn.

We have learned from sharing our own stories, and from reading the stories of others. We have learned how important it is to take care of ourselves, while at the same time offering support, encouragement and understanding to others. We are the strong warrior parents who rise each morning and spray on the Teflon, not knowing what we may face, but knowing that we must stay strong.

OMB has taught us all a little something, and has helped us all understand that we are not facing this battle alone.

It is never easy.

But dealing with a Narcissist never is.

Read some of our stories.

Our stories have commonalities:

Sorrow
Tempers Flaring
Rage
Estrangement
Narcissism
Grief
Terrifying Encounters
Harm

Our stories have these commonalities too:

Self-Defense
Togetherness
Rising Above
Education and Effecting Change
Never Giving Up
Gratefulness
Triumph
Help. Getting help when we need it. And giving help back when we can.

Now…

Look at the first letters of each word in both lists above.

Our stories, no matter what “stage” we are in, also have this in common:

S.T.R.E.N.G.T.H.

As we approach the holidays, remember that no matter what battle you are currently facing, you are not alone. Support, help and safe options are available.

The online community of OMB has brought Strong Warrior Parents together to share, to listen, and to learn.

That is something to be thankful for.

(Thank you Tina)

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Happy Holidays with Gratitude

~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? 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.

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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“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.

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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