Tag Archives: sharing custody with a narcissist

Divorcing a Narcissist: Being Grateful, Feeling Overwhelmed and Finding Peace

Divorcing a Narcissist: Being Grateful, Feeling Overwhelmed and Finding Peace

As we all know, there are incredible highs that come with the small victories and equally incredible lows that seem to be part of the territory when divorcing a narcissist, sociopath or any other Cluster B personality disorder.  Over the past two years, I have made contact with a total of four individuals who reached out to me in an effort to help me protect my daughters.  These are my small victories– people who come forward because they want to help me to protect my little girls.  These are people whom I’ve never met but we share one common bond: we have all been victimized by my X.

Being Grateful: Sometimes I have a difficult time expressing my deep gratitude for the angels in my life.  This past week was a great example.  I have been trying to serve my X with contempt paperwork.  The papers need to be served in person and there is a strict time frame.  He is evasive and uses multiple addresses.  Through this “inner circle” of people (angels), I was not only able to determine where my X now resides (in a new luxury condo) but I found out the exact hotel and room number where my X was spending the week in Southern California.  In just a few short hours, I was able to hire a process server in that area who staked out his hotel room and caught him on his way to his conference/work training.  Contempt papers served- check!

Feeling Overwhelmed: I have a handful of close friends who are fighting for their children.  I know these women and I know their children- I take their plights seriously and I worry about them.  I wish I could do more.  My heart cheers with each victory and breaks with each set back.  I have become close with many of you who follow my blog and I know your stories intimately.  I pray for you and your children and I cheer you on from afar.  I find myself worrying at 3am about people who I’ve never met but I find myself deeply touched by your stories and battles.

Finding Peace: I get overwhelmed at times because I want to do so much yet I feel so limited by our system.  It reminds me of that dream when you find yourself stuck in quicksand but you are desperately trying to run.  The court system can be like quicksand and I feel stuck the majority of the time.  I am coming back feeling renewed and refreshed after an extended weekend of peace, fun and family time.  I was able to escape for four days with my siblings, their spouses and all of our children.  It was the first time in a very long time when I unplugged and was present in the moment.  It was heaven.

This weekend was a reminder that despite all of the stressful demands that we face while divorcing a narcissist, it is imperative that we make time to find peace each day…even if that is quite time in the shower when we can calm our minds and recount the positive aspects of life.  One of my favorite quotes is, “There is always something to be thankful for- always!”.

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Divorcing a Narcissist: He Takes the Cake

Divorcing a Narcissist: He Takes the Cake

I read something recently that said, “Stop spreading lies about me and I will stop telling the truth about you“.  The author was clearly divorcing a Narcissist.

I’ve had quite a few things going on recently.  I am still awaiting word from the Commissioner on the contempt charges.  Not sure why it is taking so long and anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am not a very patient person by nature.  I am learning but it is a process.  ***Edited to add: Contempt of Court scheduled for September 12, 2012!

Last week had a few ups and downs.  I entered my blog into a contest to raise money for a non-profit organization that helps women in custody battles.  Through that contest, I discovered the true meaning of “internet trolls” and my very own troll had a name: Susan P.  This particular internet troll decided to attack something positive and turn it into pure “yuck” (technical term).  After reading the ramblings of this troll, I agreed with someone on my forum: “Susan P. has a pony in this race“.  I have since discovered (today) that “Susan P. is actually one of my follower’s x-husbands, James P., from Tucson, Arizona.  I have been receiving multiple emails, comments and messages from this person since I featured his ex-wife’s story in my blog.  I am publicly asking him to cease communication.  If you feel that you are the victim of cyberstalking, I encourage you to contact Alexis Moore as she is leading the road to new laws and can help with identifying and ending cyberstalking.

“Susan P” did say one thing that I would like to address just in case anyone else is curious: she questioned how I obtain my information and accused me of stalking my X.  I am not “emotionally trapped in bitterness and unable to let go of my X “, as she suggested.  Quite the opposite.  I have balance between my work, my daughters and my relationships.  This battle does weigh on me as it does with anyone who is fighting for their children against a Narcissist.   I have worked with a private detective and all other information literally lands in my lap.  This Sunday was a great example.  I received a text message that said, “Do you know your X is in town?  I am at ABC Gym and he is here now“.  That did not involve “browbeating or manipulation” which Susan P implied; the information simply landed in my lap.  It also explains why he wasn’t at the visitation exchange on Sunday morning- he was at the gym.  Priorities, right?

Over the summer, my X’s visitations have been relatively calm and uneventful as his mother is here visiting from Saudi Arabia.  She is the “Queen” in the family and holds a great deal of power in the eyes of her four sons.  She is in denial about the issues at hand and refuses to do what is right by her granddaughters.  With that said, her presence has kept him in line for the most part aside from the bizarre emails.

Against my better judgement, I left the girls at the family house both days and my X was not present for either morning exchange.  I heard that he was drinking heavily on Friday in the Bay Area so the hangover was probably to blame for the failure to show up on Saturday morning.  When I say that I left them “against my better judgement”, I am not implying that his presence makes the situation safe.  My court ordered visitation is with my X- not his family.  I do not want to set a precedence that leaving the girls at the family house without him being there is acceptable.

My X had asked me in advance of the visitation weekend if he could keep the girls later on Sunday.  I declined his request.  Knowing that I had already said “no” by email, he asked my 7-year daughter to call me and ask permission to stay longer.  She said, “Dad said we can’t have cake if we don’t stay later“.  I reminded her that we had plans already and that I would call and discuss it with her dad.  He didn’t answer his phone.

I went to his home (with cake in hand!) to pick up the girls at the scheduled time and noticed that my daughter had been crying.  She walked up and wrapped her arms around me before climbing into my car.  My oldest daughter said that something had happened that she wanted to talk about.  Luckily, I have a voice recorder which I use to record his conversations with the children (court order) and I flipped it on to ensure I didn’t forget details about what she was about to say.  As they left the party, my X began saying, “it’s your mom’s fault that we can’t have fun” and “it’s your mom’s fault that I only get to see you for a short amount of time“.  She said he was saying mean things about me but I didn’t pressure her for specifics.  She used ‘her voice’ as she is learning in counseling and told him, “Dad, you are saying things that I don’t need to hear“.

At that point, he continued ‘saying mean things’ so she began sending me a text message.  I asked her what she wrote because I didn’t receive a message and she said, “I was trying to ask you to help us because he was saying mean things and wouldn’t stop“.  At that point, she said that her dad reached into the backseat and grabbed the phone out of her hands while he was driving on the freeway.  He then informed her that it was illegal to text while driving in a car and that his rules forbid texting on his visitation time. I can tell you something that should be illegal- a grown man who bullies small children.

I am gearing up (again) and will be addressing the issues head on.  More to follow…

Divorcing a Narcissist: Unsupervised Visits Reinstated (again)

Divorcing a Narcissist: Unsupervised Visits Reinstated (again)

Coin flipping or heads or tails is the practice of throwing a coin in the air to choose between two alternatives, sometimes to resolve a dispute between two parties. It is a form of sortition which inherently has only two possible and equally likely outcomes. -Wikipedia

I am starting to think that “Heads” means supervised visits are in order and “Tails” means that we will try unsupervised visits and hope that the children aren’t harmed in the process. There is no other rhyme or reason to what is happening.  The attorney who helped me today said that she reviewed our file and the decisions are all over the place.

Using a coin to settle a dispute is just dandy except that there are two children involved here.  I am disgusted by today’s outcome.  Basically, there was no solid proof that the X was sleeping or hungover when the girls almost drowned– his word against mine.  I was basically told that the girls should take swimming lessons.  My attorney asked that the order be written stating that my youngest daughter should be in a life jacket at all times due to her seizure disorder.  The Commissioner declined that request and said that he isn’t going to “micro-manage these children’s lives- what time they eat dinner, go to bed, etc”.  The Commissioner then stated that, “X would have to live with himself if anything happened to the children” or something along those lines.

With that last statement by the Commissioner, I mentally checked out of the courtroom.  I couldn’t believe that he said that.  It further shows that the courts do NOT understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  He (the X) doesn’t care about the children– he cares about winning this case.  We all walked out of the court room and within 2 seconds of stepping foot in the hallway, the X started spewing about my blog and how it is ruining his family’s reputation.  He wasn’t excited about getting to see his daughters without supervision– he was upset that his family secrets are being exposed.

Let me (try to) understand this.  My children almost drowned in a swimming pool less than a month ago while in their fathers ‘care’.  On May 30th, the Commissioner felt that (based on the evidence), supervised visits were in order.  My X never attempted to see the children during the past four weeks and then called our home drunk on Father’s Day.  Now, three weeks later he is fit to have them without supervision?

At this point, I plan to bring additional attention (media) to my case and others.  Change needs to be made.  People should not have rights that supersede the safety and well-being of their children merely because they have the ability to reproduce.  I am interested in starting a non-profit agency so if you have suggestions or resources on where to begin, please send them to me at Tina@thePRdiva.com.  I am going to take a few days to catch my breath and re-group.  After that, I plan to begin making changes.

Divorcing a Narcissist: Court Tomorrow Morning

Divorcing a Narcissist: Court Tomorrow Morning

Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that things always seem to fall into place for me.  It’s been that way for as long as I can remember.  It’s not that I’ve led a privileged life- quite the opposite.  My childhood falls into the category of “things that no child should ever have to go through“. I’m a fighter, a survivor and I have a positive attitude.  I don’t believe in self-pity and I flat out refuse to be a victim.  I work very hard to find the lessons that are hidden inside of each experience.  Sometimes those lessons are as clear as day and other times they are hidden in really thick muck.

I have a difficult time giving up control.  I have been behind the wheel of this battle to protect my daughters since day one.  Placing my trust in someone else has been more difficult than I ever imagined.  On Saturday, I hired an attorney for limited scope representation.  In 2009, during my time at the local Women’s Shelter I had in-house legal assistance with my paperwork.  That same attorney is now in private practice and has agreed to come on board for tomorrow’s hearing.  I feel like I am so close to obtaining a permanent order for supervised visits- I need someone with the background and legal knowledge to take the wheel.

I have to have faith that everything is unfolding as it is supposed to– that there is a plan in place that I don’t understand right now.  I need to have confidence that those horrible and humbling days at the Women’s Shelter needed to happen to make me stronger.  Maybe the encounter with the attorney from the Women’s Shelter three years ago was meant to be– that this lady was placed in my path for a reason and tomorrow it will all become clear.

As I sit here preparing for yet another court date, I have a choice on how I think of the past three years of my life.  I can sit back and question why this has all happening or I can choose to view it in a different light.  I can take everything I’ve been through and use it to help others.  When I think back on my life, my greatest accomplishments and feelings of satisfaction have come from helping other people.  I am starting to believe that this is my life calling—to take these experiences in the Family Court System and help others who are walking in my former (and current) shoes.   I need to reflect on the positive of the past three years– the colorful parts of my life.  Worrying about tomorrow isn’t going to change anything.  I know in my heart that I have done everything in my power– now I have to turn it over to my higher power.

Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.  ~Philip Gulley

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What Does a Typical Email from a Narcissist Look Like?

What Does a Typical Email from a Narcissist Look Like?

Divorcing a narcissist is no easy feat.  A custody arrangement with one is another story.  Before I knew about NPD or understood it, I would become flabbergasted by each email.  I wondered if I was the crazy one.  I would devote enormous amounts of energy to defending my honor and trying to rationalize with someone who didn’t operate in reality.  Plain and simple: it is a waste of time.

Today I was reminded of those past emails.  I would stay up until midnight trying to respond and make sense of the email attack.  A friend is going through the beginning stages of her custody battle with a similar personality.  She asked me to proof an email that she was writing to him and I felt saddened as I saw her doing the same thing that I use to do.  She was trying to appeal to his human side but the problem is, he doesn’t have a human side or a soft place in his heart.

I restructured her email and took out all of the emotions.  He doesn’t deserve one single emotion from this beautiful lady.  In his sick mind, he derives a great deal of pleasure from knowing that she needs his money.  He would gloat over her email and he would feed off of his accomplishments.  It took me so long to understand this disorder and to flip that emotional switch to “off”.  Emotions should be saved for friends or a journal.  At the zoo, you will find signs that say, “Do Not Feed The Animals”.  That sign applies here also. 

Do Not Feed the Narcissist.

If you haven’t been privy to a Narcissistic email, I have an arsenal of them.  I went to my Gmail and found one from two years ago to use as an example:

Tina– I’ll take the one line out you object to on the MC-030 form.  You can see me at 9 am at Starbucks as planned and go to your backwoods wedding in Arkansas. You were a good Mom. You are hyper vigilant. You actually were so perfectionist; you didn’t know how to just relax.  I am a great Dad. That is why the children are super excited to see me but cry incessantly when I have to return them to you after my visitation. It isn’t that they don’t love you too. They just want to be with me every day and you every day. Your using them as a tool to get more money is abominable and disgusting.

You forget so easily.  Who provided everything for you and the girls for seven years.  Who provided ALL THE FOOD, SHELTER, UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION for the last nine months. Me. You provided nothing!  You are the most ungrateful person I ever met. Well the “Secret” as you quote will run its course. Good luck with Karma.

Now, you are back to being the same way you were in high school and before I met you, “a relationship junkie”..  Bouncing around to multiple men is what deeply disturbs me given that we have two daughters who will mirror what they see their mother do.  Now you moved to a college apartment which is fine. You got a job…finally after 9 months of riding my coat tails and pulling my shorts off. Maybe you will finally become mentally stable.  We’ll see.  The X

###

The “old” me would have sat down, cried and tried to reason with him.  I would have tried to explain that the “back woods wedding” was actually in the most gorgeous place I had ever seen.  I would have tried to explain that the girls cry because of the games he plays— leaning in the car and telling them how sad he was going to be.  Trying to make them cry so he could flip on the video camera and capture their tears for court.   I would have reminded him that I had never been with multiple men and that I was with one great person.  I would have lost it over the implication that I never worked– I had worked 60-100 hours a week for years and still worked full time after having kids….and on and on.  These attacks leave a person questioning their own sanity.

Here is what my response would be now that I understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder, this would have been my response:

Dear X, We will plan to see you at the designated pick up location at 9am.  Thank you- Tina

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Divorcing a Narcissist: Today’s Court Date and Outcome- Supervised Visits

Divorcing a Narcissist: Today’s Court Date and Outcome- Supervised Visits

Please lift the handle and exit to your left.

A roller coaster is always the easiest way to describe this experience.  There are the brave souls who are on the ride and then the people watching and cheering from the ground.  There are ups and downs– highs and lows.  Sometimes the ride flips you upside down and you endure loop after loop.  You are never in control of the ride– that is left to the man at the control booth.  You have to have faith and sometimes that is difficult.

I felt so much love and support this morning when I opened my Facebook account.  My phone battery will be dead soon due to the love that poured out with every “beep”.  I am thankful to each and every person who is cheering us on.  One day, I hope that my daughters are able to grasp the amount of love and support that is in our corner.  Sometimes it is overwhelming and I am grateful because being overwhelmed with love is a good feeling.

I got to the courthouse at 8:15am and we were scheduled for an ex parte (emergency) hearing.  I’m sure that each courtroom is different but this is the way ours works: with an ex parte, everything is handled by paperwork.  You are not able talk to the Commissioner.  Your paperwork is reviewed and a decision is made.  The Commissioner went through all of the cases on calendar and then notified me that his ruling was upstairs in the clerk’s office and that I could go retrieve it.  I sat reading the paperwork submitted by the X’s attorney and my daughters’ attorney.  My heart sank as I read it.

Here are a few snippets of what I was reading:

From Minor’s Council:

  • I do not consent to the requested order but I consent to the following order: the court NOT issue any ex parte orders regarding supervised visits at this time.
  • A hearing be set at a later time to address the issues at hand.
  • Spoke to childrens’ therapist who did recommend supervised visits.

From X’s Father (have you ever heard the saying, “The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree”?

  • Claimed that the girls were happily playing and their inner tubes slipped out.  Claims that the X jumped in right away and got the girls out.
  • Claimed the girls went in the very next day with zero fear or hesitation.  The ironic part was that his own wife (X Mother in Law) contradicted this statement in writing when she discussed talking to the girls on Skype and that my youngest daughter was “emphatic” about not going in the pool the next day.  Her email further discredited the X’s statement that I was brainwashing the girls into being afraid of the pool.
  • Went on and on about how much the girls love their dad and signs of affection, etc.

I sent several text messages to friends and family as I waited my turn in line stating, “I don’t feel good about this– minor’s counsel is recommending UN-supervised visits”.  I walked to the counter and watched as the clerk filled in the paperwork according to the Commissioner’s orders:

Professionally Supervised Visits pending next hearing.  One hour per week.  New hearing set for June 20, 2012. 

I could not believe what I was reading.  We were going to have almost a full month of peace.  The girls are able to see their father but they will be safe while doing so.

To say that I am thankful is an understatement.

 

 

 

What Will It Take For Someone to Protect My Daughters?

What Will It Take For Someone to Protect My Daughters?

Sometimes I need to take a deep breath and regain my composure before blogging.  Something happened yesterday that left me unable to take a deep breath or regain my composure.  I thought that I would be more composed today but that is not the case.  I am more upset.  I was looking up synonyms for the word, “irate” and had to lean on my thesaurus for help.

Irate
Synonyms: Angered, annoyed, blown a gasket, enraged, exasperated, fuming, furious, incensed, indignant, infuriated, irritated, livid, mad, piqued, provoked, riled, steamed, ticked off, up in arms, worked up.

Does that describe it?  No, but its a good start.

Yesterday as I was in the shower, the girls were overheard talking about the upcoming visit with their dad.  My five year old said, “I with that we could still see (professional supervisor’s name here)”.  “I know.  Dad says that he makes good decisions (now) but he doesn’t”, replied my 7-year old daughter.  I can’t speak word-for-word about what was said because I wasn’t there.  This conversation was relayed to me but that was the general dialog.  I know that my five year old has been trying to process things related to her father and visits.  I give her the space to do that and supply her with the tools to work through her feelings in counseling and in general communication.

We dropped the girls off with their dad from 11am to 5pm and upon pick up, I noticed that my youngest daughter had  been crying.  This was the ensuing dialog between my X and I:

Me: “What happened?”

X: “Well, the girls were pushing boundaries in the pool and went under water for a short period of time”

My immediate thoughts: remain calm and composed.  Do not over react.  Listen to the entire story before you open your mouth.

My 7 year old then chimes in and states: “(My sister) went under water.  I tried to save her and hold her above the water but then her head was higher than mine and I swallowed water also”.

X: “They were pushing boundaries- it was scary and they learned a lesson from it.  They are both fine”.

I got the girls into the car.  I wanted out of there badly.  A million thoughts going through my head but I remained calm and didn’t want to react until I knew more.  We drove home and over the next few hours, I heard the entire story.  Basically, it was my worst nightmare unfolding in front of me.  My daughters have never had swimming lessons.  They were in a pool without an adult in the water.  NO life jackets on.  My youngest daughter slipped off of her swimming noodle and she was trying to doggie paddle to the edge.  She inhaled two gulps of water before my 7-year old saw her struggling and jumped off her own noodle to save her.  She explained that she was trying to hold her sister out of the water so that she could breathe but in turn, she went under several times.  She said they tried to get their dad’s attention but he was lying out sun tanning wasn’t paying attention.  He finally realized what happened and jumped into the pool to rescue them.   My five year old is amendment that she swallowed five huge gulps of water.  “I counted them, momma” she said.

The girls brought up the incident throughout the night and several times this morning.  Last night at bedtime, my oldest daughter asked if she could write in her journal.  I am incredibly thankful that her teacher at school advocates daily journaling as I think this practice is invaluable.  This morning, she asked if she could share her journal with me on our drive to church.  This is a snippet of what she wrote:

“Today was a scary day for me and my sister.  It happened at my dad’s house.  When me and my sister were playing in the pool and we didn’t know how to swim and (my sister) fell off her floatie and almost drowned.  I tried to save her then I fell off my floatie but was holding (sister) up higher than me.  We drank chlorine water.  I think either my dad was not watching, he was not paying attention or he was sleeping.  But after about 12 seconds dad jumped in and got us out of the pool.  After that dad took us inside and we had cinamin raison bread, milk and chips and salsa”. 

My feelings as a protective Mother Bear are hard to describe even with a thesaurus in hand.  There is no excuse for what happened in his care yesterday.

I looked up drowning facts and prevention on a government website:

  • How long does is take for a child to drown? A child can drown in only a couple of minutes. It is important to always stay with your child around any type of water (pool, spa, ocean, lake). A child should never be left ALONE near any type of water – EVEN FOR “JUST A MINUTE.”
  • Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 years.
  • How is drowning prevented:  Supervision when in or around the water. Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in the bath and all children swimming or playing in or around water. Supervisors of preschool children should provide “touch supervision”, be close enough to reach the child at all times.  Adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, or mowing the lawn) while supervising children.

A responsible adult.   What a concept.  THIS is the person that the California Family Court System deems as “responsible enough” to care for my daughters without supervision.

Will it take one of my daughters DYING or being seriously injured for the court to say, “Okay, maybe he isn’t responsible enough”?  My seven year old daughter had to try and save her sister yesterday.  A seven year old was more responsible that a 38-year old man who was more concerned with his tan than watching his daughters.  The court-appointed supervisor previously notated on her reports that he doesn’t interact with the children on his visits.  She was right—not even when two little girls are in a body of water and could have lost their lives.

Sometimes I turn to my friends for the words I can’t seem to find.  My friend described it best today: “I think that we (as mothers) get punished for being too vigilant.  He (X) is too hell bent on having no restrictions and rules that he is ignorant of how inept he is as a father“.

One hour ago, I had to drop them off in his care again. My daughters asked me to talk to their dad prior and let him know that they don’t want to go back in the pool.  He agreed that they would stay inside today.  Irate can’t describe my feelings nor can any word that I can find in a thesaurus.