Tag Archives: divorce coach

The Life That Awaits You – With Lundy Bancroft

The Life That Awaits You – With Lundy Bancroft

Lundy and Tina Swithinby Tina Swithin

Today, I am blogging from the friendly skies – on a flight from Connecticut to DC and then on to Phoenix with a final destination of San Luis Obispo, California. While it will be a long day (week!) of travel, it has been worth every moment as I am coming off of one of those “life-changing” experiences that I wish for everyone. I am thankful for today’s travel time and I plan to make the most of it by reflecting on and absorbing how much the past few days has enriched my life.

I grew up without my biological mother in my life. Her brief and sporadic appearances throughout my childhood never left warm and fuzzy feelings but instead left me feeling confused, scared and saddened. Most likely due to my own early experiences, my greatest fear in life was the mere thought of becoming a mother. That all changed (thankfully) at the age of 30 when I discovered that I was pregnant with my first child. For NM1my entire childhood, it was my dad and I. There were many periods of time when others became part of the picture like my early years when my grandmother and Aunt Bev helped to raise me (age 0-2 years) or when my father remarried (age 2- 9) and then the times when his girlfriends lived with us. Aside from the stable role that my Aunt has played in my life since day one, female relationships have not proven to be longstanding sources of strength or guidance for me. In fact, female relationships are something that often feels forced and unnatural to me which may explain why most of my very best friends have always been men.

Several years ago, I read Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” and that book showed me that my relationship with Seth was incredibly abusive despite the fact that my relationship lacked physical abuse which is the standard that society seems to cling to. After reading the book, I felt validated and clear. I felt as though Lundy had secretly crawled into my home, installed a hidden camera and then wrote about my life. I was riveted as Lundy broke down the different personality types of abusive men such as “Mr. Right” and “The Water Torturer.” I remember sending him an email to thank him for his work – I didNM2 not need a reply back…I simply wanted him to know that his words had an impact on my life and my path to healing.

Each year, Lundy holds a retreat and each year since reading his book, I have received notifications of the retreat. A variety of factors have prevented my attendance at the retreats in the past however, this year when the notification came through, I jumped at the opportunity and filled out the application at record speed. Because enrollment for the retreat was limited to 20 people and registration was done by mail, I drove my registration form straight to the post office. Then, I decided to bypass the anxiety that would normally come while waiting to be notified if I was “in” and I bought a plane ticket! Something just felt right about this and I knew that this was the year I needed to be at “The Life That Awaits You” retreat. (Thankfully, the notification came a few weeks later!)

As the calendar pages were flipped and the retreat was fast approaching, I began to panic a bit. I was so far along in my healing – was I going to take a spot that someone else really needed? What if I were the only one who had not endured physical abuse in past relationships? What if I didn’t fit in with the other women? Coming off a recent experience with a female friendship that completely knocked the wind out of me; you could say I was feeling anxious about being at a retreat so far away from home….with a bunch of women. Deep breath. It’s only 2 days I reminded myself repeatedly.

I arrived in Connecticut a day early and a group text message ensued between four of the women who were attending the retreat. After a series of text messages, I could tell that I was going to fit right in with this group. I met up with one of the attendees for a glass of wine the night before the retreat and felt even more at ease. The next day, I made the 90-minute commute to the retreat with four women who will now hold a place in my heart for life…and that was just the beginning of the weekend.

The retreat was held in Plainfield, Massachusetts – a gorgeous, snow-covered area which was quite a ways off the beaten path and the perfect spot for bonds to form and for broken hearts and tattered souls to heal. Everyone was there for the same reason regardless of the form of abuse they endured, duration of abuse or the severity of abuse. Everyone was united by an experience that only someone who has endured abuse can understand – there was power and comfort in knowing that everyone was there for the same reason. Within minutes of entering the retreat, I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I express myself best by using words however; I am left with few words that could properly describe how healing and powerful this retreat was for me…and for the women who surrounded me. There was deep laughter and deep tears – all of the emotions, good and bad were healing in their own right. There were unbreakable bonds formed and lifelong memories made. For me, the realness and rawness of the experience was intense. Everyone showed up and was present in the moment. They were all open and willing. There was no judgment – only love. These women were inspiring regardless of where they were on their journey – from those who were just leaving an abusive relationship to those who had 10 years of healing under their belt. These women came together through unfortunate circumstances and supported each other 100%. They listened. They comforted. They all worked together to heal.

As we pulled away from the retreat and made our way to the airport, I noticed that it was International Women’s Day. I now understand the importance of bonding with incredible women and my life is so much richer for this experience. I came to the retreat to work through some lingering issues from the past and while my goal was accomplished, I left with so much more than I ever imagined. I am forever thankful to Lundy Bancroft for what he has done and what he continues to do in this world. I truly believe that he is an angel among us. While gratitude is a daily practice for me, the gratitude that I feel today is circulating through every cell in my body. Thank you, Lundy…for all you do.

###

“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.

 

Peace, Divorce Coaching and OMB Non-Profit Updates

Peace, Divorce Coaching and OMB Non-Profit Updates
Cover

Our new logo (Photo by Sarah Lennox)

by Tina Swithin

My long overdue blog and updates.

Where to even begin?

I have peace.

I feel like peace is something that I’ve yearned for my entire life. It always seemed to be lingering just beyond my reach. I could see it and was able to grab a piece of it once in a while…. but it always seemed to slip from my fingers as soon as I tried to hold on to it. My childhood was enough to make most Child Psychologists cringe and then there was my adult years….a series of horrible relationships and then….Hurricane Seth.

Fast forward to today: I have a husband who loves me – I feel that love….it is more than just empty words. I wake up in the morning and I feel content. I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be. My daughters are happy. They are safe. They also have peace. I even have the white picket fence around my house. I didn’t plan for a white picket fence life….but I am happy to have it. I like the way peace feels in the deepest parts of my soul.

We haven’t heard from Seth since last October when the court ruled that he can no longer have contact with the girls. Seth who? Enough about that guy. We did hear from “that guy’s” mom, Cleo….apparently, she is moving back to the United States after spending about 15 years teaching overseas in Saudi Arabia. She notified the girls that she is moving back via a Christmas card. Joy to the world…not.  I have had a sinking feeling in my stomach. The thought of Grandparent’s Rights has always weighed heavily on my mind however, my mind is at ease after speaking to several attorneys.  Let’s just say that chances of hell freezing over and pigs growing unicorn horns are more concerning than my local court awarding Cleo time with the girls.

My wish for 2015 is that each and every one of you have peace waiting just around the corner. I want to share this feeling with every person who has been bruised, beaten and broken by the Family Court System.

High Conflict Divorce Coach:

Two weeks ago, I took a leap of faith. I quit my super stable career in Public Relations. We all hear the phrase, “Find a job that you love and you will never work a day in your life” but that sounded like pipe dream fluff to me. Now I get it. Six months ago, I launched my new business as a Divorce Coach and I have officially found my calling. Last week, I asked clients for testimonials and the response I received was humbling…and further confirmed that my leap of faith doesn’t require a back-up plan. I am doing exactly what I was called to do.  Here is a quote from one of my regular clients:

“Tina has been an essential part of my journey. There was a time when I was so alone in the custody battle; a time when I felt utterly confused, afraid, and overwhelmed by lawyers, court dates, and a punitive, unreasonable, terrifying ex husband who had this knack of pulling it together in front of other people. I searched for ways to cope, to understand, and to find a way through but was stunned by the lack of resources…until I found Tina. And then everything started to change. Tina’s role as a coach has literally changed my life and the course of my journey through this process. Over the past 8 months, she has helped me strategize, think through complicated legal situations and proposals, set boundaries, draft more effective emails, and better understand both the legal and psychological issues I was facing. She is prepared, focused, and full of insight and ideas. Most importantly, she helped me reconnect with myself and to not let fear take me away from what I knew to be true and right. Our sessions have made me stronger, hopeful, and certainly wiser. I am beyond grateful to Tina. She has been invaluable to me and I can’t imagine going through this without her!”

Yesterday, I was walking on the beach and catching up with an old friend. As I was explaining to her what I was doing, she said, “You are like a doula. A divorce doula!”  — it made me laugh but it is so true. According to DONA International, “Doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning ‘a woman who serves’ and is used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.” I remember hiring a Doula for the birth of my first daughter, Piper, and I was so incredibly thankful I did. She was there for me every step of the way. Being a “divorce doula” is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Please come over and “like” my personal Facebook page where I share inspiration and positive quotes.

One Mom’s Battle- a Non-Profit:

Aside from Divorce Coaching, my free time will be spent volunteering as President of the non-profit organization, “One Mom’s Battle.” We just completed the 501(c)3 paperwork and are well on our way towards tax-exempt status!  Our first board meeting will be held this month. We have such an amazing team lined up….OMB has a new logo which we are so thrilled about (thank you, Larissa!).   As they say, it takes a village!

In other exciting news, a new OMB website is underway thanks to the dedication of the amazing Valerie. SO many positive things happening – we look forward to all that 2015 has to offer! Cheers to providing support for survivors while educating the Family Court System! Cheers to making CHANGES!  I have personally seen it here in my local court system – I look forward to seeing change happen across the world.

###

The Lemonade Club: Currently, The Lemonade Club is not accepting new applicants. The forum is being moved and improved.  For more information and to be added to the waiting list, please email Tina@onemomsbattle.com

Divorce Coaching: Seeking a Divorce Coach for your high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Tina Swithin will help you to establish boundaries, navigate the system and regain your power. Email Tina Swithin for an intake packet: tina@onemomsbattle.com. Follow Tina’s personal Facebook page for daily inspiration.

Books: 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.

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

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: Peace is the Calm in your Heart

Divorcing a Narcissist: Peace is the Calm in your Heart

peaceby Tina Swithin

As we are all painfully aware, the Narcissist loves to steal the very things that they are incapable of having in their own lives.

In the beginning, they were attracted to us for the qualities they lack: honesty, integrity, kindness, empathy, etc. As the relationship progressed, they slowly chip away at our identities until we are left questioning everything about ourselves and life in general. Once the relationship is over, their mission becomes focused on robbing us of peace and love.

I came across this quote a few days ago and it really hit home for me. “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown

Despite the chaos brewing around you, I hope that you can go to that quite place in your heart and cherish your own peace. This is the peace that no one can take from you. Some may have to search deeper than others but it is there. I promise.

###

“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 more 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, navigate the system 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.

Divorcing a Narcissist: How to Survive

Divorcing a Narcissist: How to Survive

flickering lightby Tina Swithin

This year marks my first drama-free, narcissist-free Christmas (happy dance!) since my divorce began in 2009. Six Christmas’ in a row that were controlled by Seth in various ways: money (lack of support), demands (changes to the schedules, pick up times, drop off times, etc), control (bizarre phone calls, manipulative emails, etc). I remember the Christmas of 2009 when I discovered (days before Christmas) that Seth never paid the girl’s preschool tuition as he claimed. I had two weeks over Christmas break to: a) come up with $3,000 or b) find a new preschool. I didn’t have $300 to my name so I began scrambling to find a more affordable preschool so that I could keep my job.

I recently read a comment on a Facebook page that described me as someone who had not healed and someone who was holding on to the past. There is nothing further from the truth. I have healed. I don’t hold onto the past. I reflect on the past when I am trying to empathize with those who are still on the battlefield. Everyday I receive emails that break my heart. Everyday I am reminded how lucky I am to have made it to the other side of this nightmare. Everyday I am humbled when I hear someone say that my story gives them hope….my story inspires them to keep fighting.

This blog and movement has zero to do with Seth. This was never about him. This is not about my inability to move forward…I have done that. This blog is my way of saying, “Hey – I get it. I’ve been there. It is hell BUT you can do it. Don’t give up….you never know what tomorrow holds.” I am living proof of that.

People often ask how I survived this battle. There were a few things that stand out to me:

  • Gratitude. There is always something to be grateful for. Always. Gratitude has never failed me and the simple practice of gratitude carried me through the darkest times and changed my life.
  • Persistence. I refused to give up. I refused to settle. I often hear that the biggest regret people have (in this battle) is settling when they knew in their heart that they shouldn’t. It’s not an easy battle but I needed to go to sleep at night knowing that I did everything in my power to protect my children. The courts may not protect your babies this month or next month….never give up. Keep documenting. Keep the battle gear on.
  • Love. Treat yourself kindly. Don’t beat yourself up. There isn’t a manual for this battle. We all make mistakes. You are allowed to have bad days but you are also allowed to have good days. Stop and give yourself credit for how far you’ve come. Treat yourself with love and kindness.
  • Positive People. I love the quote that says, ““You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” (Jim Rohn). This is powerful. When I left my marriage, I had to rebuild from the ground up. The material items were easy compared to the friendships. I am very careful about the friendships that I keep. A friendship should not leave you feeling drained. A positive friend will build you up and not tear you down.

This is the season of hope and the season of gratitude. Keep both alive…keep lighting your spark when it begins to flicker and fade. You CAN do this. The holidays can be difficult. I know this firsthand. I remember it all too well.  Listen to your inner voice. Take it easy. Be gentle with yourself. Find something to be grateful for today….and find two things to be grateful for tomorrow. Eventually, your mindset will begin to change. Being grateful may feel like work in the beginning but as time goes on, it becomes part of who you are. It is life changing.

As one door closes (2014) and another door opens (2015)….lets all stop and reflect on what we are grateful for…I am grateful to this community of amazing warriors. I always say that this is the sorority/fraternity that you never want to be a part of BUT if you are here….welcome. It’s the most amazing group of people you’ll ever meet.

###

“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 more 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, navigate the system 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.

Divorcing a Narcissist: Visitation Revoked Completely

Divorcing a Narcissist: Visitation Revoked Completely

sociopathby Tina Swithin

Five years and eight months.

That is how long the girls and I have endured the chaos caused by an individual with a Cluster B personality disorder. In the beginning, I latched onto the first explanation that was thrown my way by a therapist. That term was “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” (NPD) and it made sense at the time. As time has gone on and I’ve learned more, I actually believe Seth’s issues run much deeper than NPD. I have heard all the terms to label him over the years…and all from very credible people – psychopath. NPD, Dark Triad and Sociopath. To be honest, I don’t care what the label is. A label will not ease the pain that he has caused my children.

Our supervised visits came to a screeching halt earlier this month after one single visit on the heels of a 15-month long, Seth-imposed hiatus. According to our court order from July 2013, Seth was entitled to 4-6 visits per month. He missed a total of 70 visits. The visit ended before they really began because the Commissioner suspended them based on an ex parte hearing I put on calendar. That single one-hour visit caused a tremendous amount of anxiety in the children. Nightmares resurfaced and other anxiety-related issues. These issues were noted by myself, my husband and by the girl’s therapist. I knew that I could just accept the visits knowing that the girls were physically safe with a professional supervisor OR I could take a risk and put this back in front of the court with the hope that they would listen. I am thankful that I took that gamble and filed the ex parte.

Today was the hearing to discuss my ex parte request.

I was incredibly nervous this morning. We had enjoyed a month of peace since the ex parte hearing and I was not ready to step back onto the rollercoaster ride. “Not ready” was a vast understatement….I wanted to run from the courthouse. I nervously watched the hallway waiting for Seth’s arrival. Minor’s Counsel arrived and entered the courtroom.  Within minutes, the courtroom was open to the public and we entered but Seth and his attorney were no where to be seen. After the Commissioner began calling cases, he mentioned that Seth’s attorney, Mr. Slaromon, had called in and was running late. No mention of Seth and I was secretly praying that he didn’t show up.

Seth’s slimy attorney finally arrived and our case was called forward. I took my seat and Mr. Slaromon sat to my left. Minor’s counsel sat to my right. The Commissioner started proceedings and appeared frustrated. He started off by asking why Seth should even be given visits. He went on to say that he exhibits sociopathic behavior. I was in shock. Everything felt like a blur in that moment. I thought I was going in to establish a reunification plan because as we all know, the court’s goal is to reunite families. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from the Commissioner. I didn’t know that revoking his visits was even an option. I knew better than to be that bold in court because you run the risk of being seen as overly dramatic. Hearing that the Commissioner would even consider stripping Seth of visits left me scrambling for a new strategy…the statement that I had carefully prepared was now out the window.

Next, Minor’s Counsel was given the floor. He discussed his communication with the girls’ therapist and relayed an incident that happened last night in therapy. As the therapist brought up the topic of Seth and potential visits, Sarah peed her pants. It is one thing for me to report things like this but another for my daughter to pee her pants in a therapist’s office at the mere mention of her father. For those who aren’t familiar, this is common in children who have experienced early childhood abuse or trauma. My divorce from Seth began when Sarah was only two years old and she was forced into overnight visits from 2009-2011. A lot of emotional abuse occurred in that two year period of time. I still have a difficult time reflecting on those days because they were so small and so innocent.Minor’s Counsel continued to discuss the past 16 months – that Seth had many opportunities to visit the girls and that I had gone above and beyond to communicate with him to no avail. Minor’s counsel went to bat for my daughters and actually did an excellent job covering everything I had planned to say.

Next, it was my turn to state my case. For the first time, I didn’t feel rushed. I felt like they actually cared about my position and what I had to say. I acknowledged that I agreed with his (Commissioner’s) position – that it was best to remove visits completely. I then went on to describe the past 16-months. I described two little girls who were thriving and then I described what the past month had been like: nightmares, anxiety, potty accidents and even missing school due to the stress. I described the phone calls – sometimes intoxicated, bizarre demeanor and even discussing inappropriate things such as child support and that it “wasn’t his fault” that he couldn’t visit. The calls made the girls uncomfortable and I acknowledged that they had been refusing calls since April of 2014. I then reminded the court of the recent police report (Seth had attacked a woman) during our 3111 investigation. I reminded the court that this was the 5th woman to come forward since our divorce began.

The Commissioner and Minor’s Counsel bantered back and forth and the word, “Sociopath” was mentioned again by the Commissioner. I sat and watched with wide eyes and a hopeful heart. Some portions of the bantering are a blur because I decided to pray. When Seth’s attorney began to talk, I prayed harder. I remember him blaming our issues on the fighting between Seth and I. I just shook my head as I watched his attorney in action. He then went on to blame me. He told the Commissioner that I had created a blog, books and a career through this battle and alluded that the continuing conflict was my doing. The Commissioner’s response: “I know she has a blog and I know she’s written a book. I haven’t read either. What I do know is that Seth is supplying her with a lot of material to use.”

I just stared at his attorney. How can he sleep at night knowing who Seth is? How can he drive three hours to represent a person like Seth? He KNOWS that this man is not safe to be around my children or any children for that matter. Why doesn’t he send HIS children for a weekend visit with Seth? I will never understand it….

The Commissioner asked what we propose (in terms of visits) and the bantering continued. Seth’s attorney recommended weekly visits. Minor’s counsel recommended minimal visits with Seth being ordered to meet with the girl’s therapist.

The Commissioner said that he had a dilemma: “In the court system, parents have rights but…children also have rights.”

Before I could even blink, the Commissioner said the following:

“There will be no more visits. There will be no more phone calls. Communication between Seth and the girls is restricted to letters only. We all know that he will probably still try to call so Ms. Swithin has permission to record any of his calls.”

I raised my hand slightly and he nodded at me. “Can I ask that all letters go through the girl’s therapist,” I asked? “Yes, all letters are to go through the girls’ therapist,” he answered.

I thanked him and I walked out of the courtroom. I felt like I was going to faint. I sat down. I shed a few tears. Minor’s Counsel exited the courtroom and stopped to shake my hand.

I have been trying to process this all night.

No visits.

No calls.

No review date.

This is it.

This is peace for my daughters. This is peace for my family.

5 years. 8 months. Finally. It’s over.

We have peace.

###

“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.

 

Divorcing a Narcissist: The Return of Seth

Divorcing a Narcissist: The Return of Seth

hes-backby Tina Swithin

My phone rang yesterday afternoon and between the fact that it was an unknown number and I was knee-deep in spreadsheet hell, I let the call go to voicemail. When I listened to the message and my stomach dropped.

Hi Tina – My name is Elena and I am with (XYZ Supervision Agency). I spoke with Seth about providing supervised visitation with your two daughters. I’ve sent Seth the intake paperwork and I need to speak with you to learn more about the case and send you some intake paperwork as well. If you could please give me a call back at 555-1234.  

It’s been one year, one month and nine days since we’ve seen Seth and now he wants to set up visits? His mother, Cleo, came to visit for the summer and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was going to pressure him into visits. Our last communication from  him (by email) basically stated that he was going to “develop the mentality of a soldier going to war and plan to see the girls when they were adults.” Cleo strikes again.

I centered myself and called Elena back. I explained a bit about our situation and that we hadn’t seen him in a year. I let her know that there was specific instructions on our order about which agency we were to use but that I needed to find the order and read it again. My recollection was that there was a different agency listed along a second option – an individual therapist who was chosen by the Commissioner and minor’s counsel. I explained to Elena that due to the length of time that had passed, I would prefer to consult with an attorney and opt for reunification therapy prior to jumping into supervised visits. Since one of the options on our court order was a therapist, I was leaning in that direction.

I found our court order and immediately called the therapist who was listed as a potential supervisor. I gave her a brief history and the most recent event that had transpired: Seth wanting to establish visits after a one year absence. I explained my desire for reunification therapy prior to just jumping straight into a visitation routine and she provided an outline of what would happen:

  • She would speak to the girls’ therapist to gain a clear understanding of our case.
  • She would meet with Piper, Sarah and myself.
  • She would meet with Seth.
  • After all of that, she would facilitate the visits.

I got off the phone feeling less anxiety-ridden than I had felt moments before. Even in this “warrior mom” image that I have gained, I am human. I felt ill while listening to the initial voicemail — my heart was pounding and I wanted to throw up. I had to re-group and find my center. I had to coach myself – that pep-talk that I would give my clients was not coming to me in the “fog” that I was feeling. After speaking to the therapist, I felt reassured. I was reminded by Rebecca (OMB) that the girls were empowered. I was reminded that they had found their voices.

To be continued…..click here for Part 2

“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  

###

“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!!!!  🙂

###

“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.