Divorcing a Narcissist: Why does Tina get to do it?

Divorcing a Narcissist: Why does Tina get to do it?

I’ve had a lot of people approach me about going public with their story either by blog or by book.  Many want to know how it has affected my case and they want general advice on the topic.  I received a phone call yesterday from a wonderful woman named Donna, who runs a national non-profit organization helping mothers who are in the midst of their own custody battles.  She said that she is often approached with the same question and she advises people not to go public until their case is over.  Lately she has been receiving this response, “Why does Tina get to do it then?!”  Donna wanted to ask that exact question: why does Tina get to do it?

My response to Donna and to you:

If I had a ‘rewind’ button, I would probably go back and do some things differently.  If I had it to do again, I would not have used my last name.  In November of 2011 when I first began writing, I had no idea that I would have 200,000 page views in one year.  I was writing with no clear direction for the blog and no knowledge of the doors that it would open for me.  While I don’t regret anything, I would have remained a bit more anonymous.

Because I have only used my maiden name, my blog will not reveal my x’s identity unless he tells people about it.  The average person would never make the connection and therefore, it cannot affect his job, ability to rent a home, find a girlfriend, etc. He has often accused me of the following things in court documents:

  • Defamation: a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone’s words or actions.
  • Slander: The action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.
  • Libel: A published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation.

None of these things apply for two reasons: nothing that I have said is false and I am not publicly naming him nor will I ever.  He is responsible for telling multiple people about my blog.  That is something that he has to own- not me.   If he doesn’t like it, he shouldn’t read it.  It’s not about him: it’s about divorcing a Narcissist (insert the photo of your x here).

I would have done a bit more research on the laws and ramifications.  Thankfully, the courtroom where my case resides has tolerated my blog and cited freedom of speech when it has been brought up.  I have heard countless stories about other courtrooms where things like this were not accepted with open arms.  A different state, county or courtroom and it could have taken a different turn.

On the phone call, Donna and I also discussed my reasons for continuing the blog.  She suspected that it was a way to keep the court on their toes when it came to my case.  I had to really stop and think because this blog has done so many things for me. I don’t think that my blog is personal to my courtroom.  I think that it (hopefully) can be seen as fairly generic.  Insert the name of your courtroom and it’s your story.  I write about my experience because it seems to be a problem across the board.  There are ups and downs for each of us whether it is with a GAL/Minor’s Counsel, Parenting Coordinator, Parenting Evaluator, therapist or the clerk who took in your papers at the front desk.  If the publicity that my blog generates in the media helps to educate and in turn keep my children safe (and your children safe) then I guess it is a win-win.

If you are considering starting a blog or writing a book, I encourage you to do so but you need to stop and evaluate many things- your reasons for doing it, the desired outcome, how it could affect your case and your children while keeping in mind that anything and everything that you write could be read out loud in the courtroom.  You don’t have to publish your blog and you may even consider keeping it private like you would with a journal or only sharing it with close friends and family members.  Journaling is a great outlet to rid yourself of the feelings and anxiety that goes hand in hand with this battle.

Another question that I am often asked- how will this blog affect your children? 

In my house, we are very careful and sensitive to this topic.  My daughters currently do not have access to the internet but with the recent installation of a computer in their bedroom, this is of obvious concern.  We are currently researching parental control software for the home computers which will protect them from all adult-related material and block my blog from their view.  Until those items are in place, they have no access to the internet.  For obvious reasons, this is a topic that should be given a great deal of contemplation before you move forward.

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9 Responses

  1. I think what you’ve done and continue to do is a great thing for all of us who, for years, have felt so alone and confused about what we were living with.

    Also, I wanted to mention that we use the program Time Boss to limit the amount of time my son can use the computer. There is a one time fee, but you can do a free trial to see if it works for you. We’ve also used K-9 parental controls to block adult sites, or sites we choose. This program is free.

    Hugs and positive thoughts to you and your girls as you continue this adventure!

  2. This really hits home for me. My ex brought the issue of my blog up in our parenting coordinator’s office, and I agreed to not defame him online. Granted, I would not have done so anyway, but he was so incensed by the fact that I had an outlet and afraid that I would publicly out him that he made sure this was in place. He would then imagine he read something I wrote a certain way and would bring me back to the PC’s office and demand she reprimand me. I ended up closing the blog a few months ago (unprompted by anything he did, on my own steam) and haven’t looked back.

    He is one that would have dragged me to court and insisted it be shut down or used it to say I was an unfit parent had I kept a blog as detailed as yours. I think bloggers need to be very VERY careful when dealing with personality disordered exes. Anything you write online can be used against you, and the courts do not support one parent defaming another, no matter how ‘private’ or strong their beliefs in free speech.

    You have toed the line very well, I think, and I applaud you for it. You do not belittle or defame him, identify him, or share your opinion of what he has done. I think as long as you continue to be factual you are fine.

    I hope others know to be careful about what they write.

  3. Hi Tina, while I do not write a blog, I can comment on the parental control and I agree with Stacey, K9 Web Protection is amazing. You can block all kinds of things, I’ve blocked Youtube from my son due to him watching inappropriate songs simply by clicking ‘block streaming video’. It’s easy to unlock for a 10 minutes or an hour if you want to watch something with them also. You can set the time they cannot be online too…and I love that it’s free! I don’t feel I need any other protection. I don’t know about having the computer in their room though…I’ve heard that’s a no no.

  4. Tina~

    1. I’ve been thinking of blogging on this, especially because …I’m past the most raw portions of everything, so the words… *can* be for the public ;-). I also process events, emotions, etc, through the written word.

    2. However…I guess there’s an
    a) I don’t want to appear to be doing a blog for the wrong reasons (see b)
    and
    b) I just found out last week that Lex Luthor has been doing a blog which highlights me quite a bit…and the boys. But actually: what can I do legally about his writings? He *does* use my real name; he tells lies; this is an open forum that people bash me (in “nice christian ways”; the guy uses me as a bad sermon). I suppose pretty much all of his audience would be christians, and I’m not about to get a “christian job” (he works at a Seminary). The first 48 hours after finding it, I was sick to my stomach and scared to death—ended up worked up internally as if I lived with him again, with him controlling the information to the public. I feel re-bullied, especially since others chime in, and cheer him on.

    He must have noticed that I ‘stopped by’ (though it was attached to his email to me, so it was hard to miss), because he blocked me. Either way, I was going to ban myself from his site from that day forward.

    …but it still feels demeaning, demoralizing…and, well, yucky, to have that out there.

    Can I legally get him to stop using my name, erase what he had there?

    I suppose it “doesn’t matter”, because a large portion of the people reading it are the people we all had as common “friends”, who he controlled information to from the start (mine is a sociopath, not a narc–very intense).

    …….

    And, I wish I had come across your blog when you first began, or that more people in our situation had stories that would have helped me at the beginning. I am very thankful you’re writing.

  5. I love your blog and having lived his same nightmare myself I wanted to thank you…Yours was the first story I have come accross dealing with the family court’s refusal to aknowledge NPD in divorce and custody cases.
    While I would never want anyone to put themselves or their children in harms way or leave the door open to potential legal troubles, I have to say this….it’s easy to set up an alias e-mail account to start a blog; change the names, don’t give exact details of proceedings…. only post from a library computer if need be…we must keep sharing, because today “she” could read one story and reach out for help…or without your blog and others like yours; she may have been one of the silenced ones.
    Not so long ago battered women & rape victims were advised not to go public…millions of women and children being severely beaten, raped, abused, & even murdered by husbands, fathers, boyfriends tormented for years, decades, too many innocent victims died at the hands of their abusers, afraid to say no and fight back.
    Every post, every single one of the many stories let others know they are not alone, giving them the courage and strength to keep fighting for change…each and every post makes it that much harder for our legal system to sweep this issue under the rug.
    WE NEED TO SHINE A SPOTLIGHT ON SAFELY LEAVING A NARCISSIST, then the DIVORCE/CUSTODY BATTLES….We need to SAY You are not alone….You can do this by sharing our triumphs, our defeats, and our steadfast refusal to quit fighting for ours and our children’s freedom from the tyranny of the narcissist, We need to send a clear message to the judicial system, children’s services, the police, and society that this is not acceptable and stop the abuse…

  6. Anna-can you post your email address so I can contact you about ways you can get this online disparaging stopped? I’ve done it successfully.