For me, 2013 was another rollercoaster ride and what a ride it was! I remember writing a blog a few years ago in which I described divorcing a narcissist as a rollercoaster ride with a madman at the control tower. I yearned to hear were the words, “Please lift the bar and exit the ride to your left.” I woke from my dreams desperate to hear those words and I walked into the courtroom over 30 different times hoping to hear those words. I wanted to leave the exasperating ride so badly and have peace.
In the beginning of 2013, our Child Custody Evaluation finally began after months of anticipation and waiting patiently. The start of the year also marked a visit to the police station to document physical abuse against my oldest daughter, Piper and yet another report with Child Welfare Services of San Luis Obispo County. Once again, that agency failed to protect my children (third time).
March was supposed to be the review hearing for the completed custody evaluation however, the report was not ready and the court date was delayed until April 11th. The Commissioner changed our review hearing to a two-day trial which terrified me given that I was representing myself against Seth and his slimy attorney from Ventura, California. To make matters worse, the trial was scheduled just days after my wedding. No stress there. While I was determined not to let Seth affect my wedding, the thought of returning from my mini-honeymoon and then mentally preparing for trial the very next day was horrible.
The month of March brought an angel into my world and began a huge shift of positive energy in my life. A woman who read my book contacted me and to make a long story short, she located and hired an attorney to represent me. Thankful to God. Thankful to my Angel. Thankful to my lucky stars.
I’m also incredibly thankful to the Karma that Seth always said would get me. For once, he was telling the truth.
My April court date was also delayed until July 10th because the custody evaluation wasn’t complete and the summer court calendar was completely blacked out. I was frustrated as this meant more waiting. Less than two weeks before the trial, Seth, in his ego-driven attitude of being above rules and court orders violated the court order that prohibited him from drinking alcohol around my daughters. Not only did he drink alcohol, he took them into a pub and it was all captured on camera. Thanks to another angel who works as a private detective and my new attorney, we were able to subpoena the video the day before the trial. Between that huge piece of evidence and a very thorough custody evaluation, I heard the words that I had been desperately waiting for.
While the Commissioner on our case stated that I was receiving full custody and then ordered professionally supervised visits for Seth in a final custody order, he might as well have said, “please lift the bar and exit the ride to your left.” I wish that I could say that I left the courtroom and feeling victorious in the fact that my children were finally safe, but in reality, I remained in a daze for months. It all felt so surreal and because I am accustomed to operating in a constant state of defense, I was having a hard time processing the fact that we were finally safe.
Looking back, I learned a huge lesson. I was so angry and desperate with all of the delays in my case and the custody evaluation. I am NOT a patient person by nature and this custody battle has made me realize that my timing may not always be in alignment with God’s plan and timing. I wanted so badly to protect my daughters and each delay felt like a year and not just a month. I knew that while Seth’s visits were short, there was so much damage that could be done in 6 hours. Seth’s final act of drinking could not have come at a better time. It all happened the way it was supposed to even though I didn’t understand it at the time. I’ve learned to lean on my faith during the times that I can’t understand the situation in front of me.
January 10th, 2014 will mark six months since we’ve seen Seth. The first few months, Piper (age 8) dealt with feelings of guilt. Seth’s promises to her had all come true. He had threatened that if she told anyone what was happening at his house, she would never see him again. Because his ego can not handle the thought of someone supervising his visits, we have not seen him since July. With the help of a fabulous counselor, we are working through the debris left behind by Hurricane Seth and I am proud to report that the girls are happy and thriving—and we are enjoying the peace in the aftermath of the storm that raged for over four years. Our sky has a huge double rainbow and for that, I am thankful.
2013 goes down as the year that the court finally acted to protect my children. It is the year that I married my best friend, Glenn. It is the year that I took a personal inventory and made changes in a variety of categories- friendships, career, etc. It is the year that The Lemonade Club came into fruition and my life was further enriched by a group of 30 amazing women. It was also the year that I started my second book. I welcome 2014 with open arms and a heart filled with gratitude, love and peace.
PS: I woke to an email from a woman who said that her attorney had insisted that she read my book. He loaned it to her from HIS personal library. What a message to wake up to this morning! I hope that that email is the opening to many more. I can feel the changes and the strides that we are making in the Family Court System. Cheers to 2014 being the year for changes and education!
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.