Our financial world was like being on the scariest roller coaster ride you could ever image. Once or twice every year, he would sit me down and tell me that it was all over. We’re losing everything. It would be the same conversation each time– I would be terrified but relieved.
Relieved that it was finally over and we could have normal lives– 9-5 jobs with paychecks which would force us to live within our means. If we lost everything, the houses and cars– we could be normal. We could rent a home and actually be a family on the weekends rather than two robotic people working 75-hours per week and living on coffee. We could stop pretending and be a real family.
There was constantly stress in the home when he was around. I used to be envious when hearing other moms talk about their husbands coming home in the evening to squealing children, laughter and family time. When my X would walk in the door, my young daughter would run from him. His stress levels were off the charts and she could sense it when he was around.
Each and every time that we were on the verge of financial collapse, he would pull off some great feat at the very last moment. I would usually be sitting at the kitchen table staring at a $800 electric bill with a 48-hour shut off notice and he would rush through the door on a euphoric high. He would announce that he talked the bank into another loan…or he would tell me that every thing was going to be okay but that I didn’t need to know the details of what he “pulled off”. Just “trust him” would be the request. I did. He always seemed to make things happen. Sometimes I wondered why I even got upset in the first place. Somehow, it always worked out.
In the beginning of 2006, we were once again loosing everything– the 4,000 square foot home, the cars and the business. He met with a business savvy group of investors and he was able to convince them to come on board with us. They agreed to a partnership. They agreed to pay off the past debts and print our next magazine (we were in the publishing business) in exchange for a 50/50 partnership. He agreed. It was the answer to his prayers– people with millions of dollars who could support his endeavor. I was relieved as he told me that I never had to worry again.
Seth started spending. He started acting manic– we were going to expand the business into other areas. He bought, bought and bought more. A 30′ Airstream, new vehicles and other items. He was on top of the world and felt unstoppable. He interacted with this group of investors and I stayed on the sidelines believing everything I was being told. The long and short: things were fabulous and we were set for life.
December 2006: I was 5 months pregnant with our second daughter and the investors called a board meeting. I was instructed to attend. We arrived at the meeting location and it was in a downstairs banquet room of a local restaurant. We sat down and waited for them to arrive. You could feel the tension in the room from the very moment they walked through the doors. One of them dropped a heavy file on the desk with obvious intention. It was the financials for the business. I had a feeling that all hell was about to break loose. It did.
The company CEO yelled profanities. “F” bombs were flying and headed in our direction. The CEO said, “What in the HELL is wrong with you?!”. They proceeded to tell us that they wanted out of the business. They were writing us off as a loss and walking away. The business was over.
Negotiations began over the next few weeks and my ex found a way (once again) to continue the business. They struck up a deal to purchase our house– a very nice house in a prestigious community. They wanted the house and equity– we would get the business back. I wanted to close the business and walk away from it all. I was done. I could not handle another day on this roller coaster. I wanted to pull up the safety bar and get the hell off this ride. I didn’t want to walk away from the home because the equity from the home didn’t belong to us. It belonged to my ex-mother-in-law and father-in-law. It wasn’t his right to gamble this money. He was gambling upwards of $400,000 of his parents retirement. He did it anyway.
We had 14 days to leave our home— at Christmas with a 1.5 year old little girl and I was due to have a baby in four months. It all happened so fast that my head was spinning as I packed up our entire home while stepping over Christmas presents.
During this same time, I resigned from our company. If he was going to choose to continue the business then I was done. I was constantly in the middle of Seth and the staff members — he had zero empathy for these fabulous, talented people who sacrificed so much yet were never good enough for him. I had close bonds with them and many felt like family to me. I knew that working in this environment would ruin our marriage. I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t take the stress.
I sent Seth an official resignation letter. I quit.
One Mom’s Battle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children. Please consider a donation to help with our efforts.
History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2011, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother (Tina Swithin) navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth with over 100-chapters in five different countries. In 2014, One Mom’s Battle achieved non-profit status which will allow the group to take their mission to the next level.
Tina Swithin offers annual retreats, coaching services and more at www.tinaswithin.com