Tag Archives: narcissist

“Olivia” ~ Blog 2

“Olivia” ~ Blog 2

Screen Shot 2012-11-30 at 6.33.06 PMNote from Tina: There are many faces to this battle and I am currently featuring a total of six different people who are all affected by narcissism. Some are divorcing a narcissist, some share custody with a narcissist, one is a man who is affected by his ex-wife’s personality disorder and one is an amazing young woman who is away at college but still feeling the effects of her father’s narcissism. While we are all different, we share the same story—the same trials and tribulations.  There are many faces to this battle and I am happy to share them with you. -Tina

 

“Olivia” ~ Blog 2

 

Today I finished my first semester of college! I survived rush, exams, communal bathrooms, and cafeteria food. These past two weeks have been the most challenging so far; I had to balance final exams, sorority functions, and my dad.

I found out in these past couple of week that we are going to Europe for winter break. I could not be more exited to re-experience European Christmas traditions with my family. I knew that my dad would be upset when he discovered that I would not be home for Christmas. I was growing anxious as I anticipated my dad finding out about the family trip– and anxious about how he would react to the news. To say that he was “less than pleased” is an understatement.

One morning, I woke up to 4 extremely long texts messages and 3 emails detailing his beliefs that my mom is brainwashing me, that I’m a horrible daughter, and that he is the perfect father. The last email detailed exactly what he will not do because since I am not spending Christmas with him: he will not pay for college. These text messages always ruin my day, heighten my already bad anxiety, and distract me. While I know that I am not a horrible daughter or person, it still is hard to read negative things about myself. I wish my dad understood that attacking me with texts and email makes me want to be away from him even more. I don’t understand why my dad has not changed his actions. I do not respond to the text messages hoping not to fuel his fire. I wish he could understand that my decision to go to Europe is not a personal attack against him.

Luckily I have encouraging people surrounding me on all sides. These people have made being a child of narcissist easier. Many people have stepped up to the plate to fill in gaps. My mom’s boyfriend has shown my brother and I what a relationship should look like.  One of my closest friend’s dad bought a shirt and hat from my school while my dad criticized my choice in universities. My grandfather has also done more that anyone could ask of him. He helped move me into college, buys things for my dorm room, and stepped up to be a positive role model for everyone around him.

I am excited for the future. I am confident that being a child of a narcissist will only make me a stronger person.

To see the rest of the posts from “Olivia,” click here.

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Click the link to purchase Tina’s new book, “Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle.”  You will find insight, red flag reflections and strategies on how to survive (and thrive!) while divorcing of co-parenting with a narcissist. Tired of panicking at the site of a new email from the narcissist in your inbox? Learn how to de-code the emails and see them for what they are. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.

 

 

The Bizarre Ramblings

The Bizarre Ramblings

Sometimes I have a hard time understanding how my X actually holds himself together in court.  I know where his mind is and it frightens me.  Somehow, he is able to pull it together and “appear” to be a normal, functioning person.

It has been so long that we’ve had any sort of email communication that I forgot how truly bizarre he can be.  Unfortunately, his visitations will begin again this weekend.  10am-4pm Saturday and again on Sunday from 10am-4pm.  The Sunday time conflicts with our church times so I sent an email asking to change the time by one hour.

My email:

Dear X,  On Sunday mornings, the girls and I attend church from 9:00am until 10:30am.  I propose that we shift the Sunday visitation schedule to 11am-5pm (versus 10am-4pm) which would allow me to bring the girls to the designated pick-up location.  If you’d like to shift Saturday and Sunday to this (11am-5pm) time, I am fine with that to be consistent. -Tina

His response:

Tina,  I am not sure about this. Up until you moved in with your new husband, the girls were attending (XYZ Church) in (insert town here) which they greatly enjoyed.  Then you changed to a bible church in (another town) and didn’t even tell me.  – The X

It left me feeling like I just entered the Twilight Zone.  My husband?  I changed churches?  When did these things happen???

For starters, I am not even engaged let alone married.  I have been attending the same church for three years now– in fact, I’ve never even been to another church during my entire adult life.  I am left scratching my head.

This is a delusional man who the courts feel is competent to be around my children.


$24,958.99 in Arrears

$24,958.99 in Arrears

There is a looming court date in January.  This one doesn’t cause me stress– it’s a date put on the calendar by my X to lower his “current” child support amount.  This is not my battle to fight nor do I care too.  I leave everything between him and the local Child Support Services office.

The long and short of it all: he lost another job.  I should clarify what I mean by “current” child support amount.  Technically, there is no current amount nor has there been since May.  There is a past-due amount that keeps accumulating each month.  In 2010, he hid income by failing to mention large bonuses that he had from his employer.  These issues were addressed in court last year and now he is in arrears.

The past due amount currently sits at $24,958.99

He lives in a luxury condo in San Francisco paying two-thousand dollars per month for a single bedroom.  He always has new clothing, shoes and carries a Blackberry yet he has never asked if the girls need school clothing, groceries or if I need help with their health insurance.  It’s been difficult for me to understand how a man can do this.

I recently read an article by Karyl McBride, Ph.D. in The Legacy of Distorted Love .  Here is an exert from the article which sums up the current issue at hand:

Their entitlement needs get in the way of fairly dividing property and money and in the end they do not think of what is best for the child or children. They think about what is best for them. 

His goal is to hurt me by finding ways to beat the system and to avoid paying child support.  He will inevitably find jobs under the table or borrow money from friends and family.  He really isn’t hurting me.  He’s only hurting his daughters.  In the end, we will be fine and I will make things work just like I always do.
In all honesty, it’s been quite empowering to discover that I can make it without his financial support.

A Huge Thank You

A Huge Thank You

I started this blog at the end of October 2011– I’ve been working forwards, backwards and sideways to tell my story— to paint the entire picture.  I still have pieces to fill in…in less than 8 weeks, I’ve received over 9,000 hits on my blog.

I’ve received emails and messages from women who have laughed and cried while reading my story.  Women who thanked me because they felt so alone and had no idea that “this” was happening to other people.  In the very beginning, I would have loved to connect with one other person in the world who could tell me that “everything was going to be okay”.  There were so many times that I doubted that.

Today I was accepted as an “Expert” on About.Com and through my research on this topic, I am healing more than I ever thought possible.  Today, I came across an article called, “Staying Sane While Divorcing a Narcissist” and it covered so many things that baffled me before I truly understood narcissism.

These are the characteristics of a Narcissist that rang true in my X husband (taken from Cathy Meyer’s Article)- not one item…but ALL seventeen:

  • Has a need for admiration,
  • A need to be right,
  • A need to be seen as the good guy,
  • A need to criticize when you don’t meet their need,
  • Is charismatic and successful,
  • Lacks the ability to feel remorse,
  • Has no conscience,
  • Has a tremendous need to control you and the situation,
  • Have values are situational…if you believe infidelity is wrong, so do they,
  • Uses a facade of caring and understanding to manipulate,
  • Is emotionally unavailable,
  • Nothing is ever their fault,
  • Hangs onto resentment,
  • Has a grandiose sense of self,
  • Feels misunderstood,
  • Is not interested in solving marital problems, it is their way or the highway,
  • Is envious of other’s success,

Here are some of the things which caused me to have “Ah ha!” moments in the article:

1. When divorcing a narcissist, Dr. Bansckick says, “he completely dismisses any of your needs, or all the years of devotion and mutual companionship that you had built together.

During our marriage, and prior to my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and having children, I worked between 60-100 hours per week on our businesses.  Sometimes I stopped work at 3am for a 30 minutes cat nap only to wake up and put in another full day.  I did anything and everything to keep our companies thriving.  If you ask him today what I contributed– he would answer nothing and take credit for everything.   In his mind, I stayed on the couch eating potato chips and watching television which is the farthest thing from the truth.

2. A narcissist finds it hard to accept that his influence in your life is over. Whether they file for the divorce or you, the narcissist will attempt to remain in control of his influence over your life. If you have children with this person they will work over-time at attempting to control how child support is spent, how child visitation is handled and every other aspect of the co-parenting relationship.

My X doesn’t view child support as his responsibility in the care of our children– he views it as a way to control me.  Mentally, I’ve recently shifted the way I view his support (which is currently $25,000 in arrears) and it has allowed me to break free from that control.  I am strong and I am capable of providing the basics for my children.  We will have to sacrifice the “extras” such as ballet lessons, gymnastic lessons and other fun treats but they have a well-rounded life and we will be okay.  He doesn’t have control over me and that is a good feeling.

3. Examine your role in the ongoing conflict. The healthier you are emotionally the more success you will have in dealing with the narcissist. You are giving into the narcissists attempt to manipulate every time you respond to him.  

This is something that I came to terms with over the recent year.  He is welcome to send a long, attacking rant by email but it is my choice to read them or not.  I usually skim over it and respond to the valid questions.  I’ve come to view his insane emails as just that– sometimes I just shake my head.  Usually, I respond to the required questions with simple, unemotional responses.  He doesn’t deserve emotion from me nor will he generate it.  I know that’s what he wants and I won’t give in.

4. Deal with the reality of the situation. The world of the narcissist is made up of fantasy, nothing is real, all is a expression of their need to be someone they are not. It is imperative you see the narcissist for who he/she really is and not for whom you wish he/she was.  

This is the thing that I need to constantly remind myself of.  It’s difficult but the reality is- I can’t hold him to my standards.  If I expect him to act in a rational, healthy matter— I am setting myself up for failure.  It just isn’t possible because he is NOT a healthy, rational person.

5. You can’t teach or expect the narcissist to ever respect your boundaries. You can, however refuse to allow the narcissist to cross your boundaries and cause you undue stress during the divorce process. This is done by you controlling what behaviors you will and will not allow.

This is a prime example of the past weekend’s visitation fiasco.  My X interpreted the new visitation orders the way that he wanted them to read because they way they are written gave him even less control and more restrictions.  I made an exception this time but also made it clear that in the future, I would follow the orders exactly as they are stated.

I end this (LONG!) post with a thank-you to Cathy Meyer for an article that resonated with me on every possible level.  I also thank you for reading my blog and for the amazing comments and emails that I have been receiving.

In Gratitude— Tina

Re-Claiming my Identity

Re-Claiming my Identity

My divorce took an eternity from start to finish.

From the time we separated until the day the paperwork was stamped and signed by the judge– it was approximately 2 years, 8 months, 12 days and 34 minutes.  Who’s counting?  I am.  From the time he legally filed for divorce, it was 2 years and 2 months from start to finish.  Regardless of which date you focus on…it’s a long time.

Our custody battle took that long.

It took that long for me to finally show his true colors to the courts.

We didn’t have things to fight over.  We lost everything when our financial world collapsed.  The things that we held onto were lost when he invaded my  home ( Lying in Wait ) and stripped me of everything.  In a way, it was a blessing.  It was a cleansing and a chance to start over.  I didn’t have “things” to remind me of the past.  In some ways, he did me a favor.  He got what was so important to him: things.

I got what was so important to me: the chance to walk away from a pretend world and reclaim my identity.  The nice couches, furniture and art was all symbolic of a fake and empty existence.  I am not fake and I am not empty.

I devoted yesterday to re-claiming my identity.

To sum it up: I spent all day at the DMV, the Social Security office and the bank.  I’m not a fan of sitting around and waiting so it took a lot of personal motivation to walk in, take a number, sit and wait.  And then wait more.  And more.

I walked out of the DMV with a piece of paper that made me feel even more empowered then I could have imagined.  I left the Social Security Office with my true identity back.  I ordered shiny new checks from the bank with MY name on them.  The name that I was born with and the name that I was meant to have for the rest of my life.

Last night, I went to sleep as “Tina Marie Swithin“.

Cheers to small victories that mean a lot to me personally.

Narcissism

Narcissism

Today I found an article that could have been written about my marriage and divorce.  It was titled, “Help!  I am Divorcing a Narcissist” .  I actually researched the author on Twitter to learn more.  I felt like there was someone out there who summed up the past ten years.  It really hit me hard.

In 2008, when I was first considering leaving him…I went to a therapist.  He refused to go at the time.  She (the therapist) wasn’t a PHd and therefore, he was smarter than she was.  I sat down with her for 1.5 hours and spilled my guts– I told her everything…about the triathlons, the lack of feelings/empathy, the manipulations and lies, how he used people and had no regard for anyone but himself.  I told her about his shady business practices and the fraudulent things I was discovering about his business dealings.  I told her about the demeaning nature in which he spoke to me and the control factor.  I begged her to help me save my marriage.  I was willing to do ANYTHING.

She calmly got up and walked across the room without saying a word.  She came back carrying a book.  She opened it and flipped through to the part she was looking for and handed it to me with a finger pointing at the words, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder“.  I glanced over it- overwhelmed.  I looked up at her and felt hopeful- after all, if we had a soft diagnosis…we could solve the problem.  She then went on to say that if in fact this was the case, there was no cure.  You either accept it and live with it or you leave.

I was angry.  How DARE she imply this without even meeting him.  I had never heard the term before and now I wanted to research everything related to Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).   In September of 2008, my aunt, who works in the mental health profession went to work to find a PHd who would work with us.  By this point, he had agreed to go to therapy.  We found a PHd who met with us weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) for about six months.  The Psychologist suggested that he undergo testing for Bi-Polar Disorder and NPD– both of which he suspected.  That was the end of our marriage therapy and our marriage.

He called the Doctor and stated that our marriage was beyond repair and ended counseling.

***Note: Obviously, “He” has never been diagnosed nor am I diagnosing him.  This is a series of events which  I lived and an article that I connected with on a deep level.  I felt like it could have been written about my journey.

Facebook and Social Media in Divorce Court

Facebook and Social Media in Divorce Court

I started hearing from people that “X” was adding them as friends on Facebook.  Any attractive female who lived in the state of California was a potential “friend” (or victim) to him.  One mom stopped me as I dropped my daughter off at preschool and said, “It is so bizarre, your ex-husband keeps trying to add me on Facebook”.  Some friends added him just to keep me informed on what he was doing because they knew about our current situation.

My Private Detective Hat:  What is a girl to do other than put on her private detective hat.  Over the course of our court trials, I had access to his Facebook account through two different friends’ pages.  At different times, I actually had their log-in information and could sign in to monitor things.  He was so persistent in his communication with one attractive friend that he invited her to an event every other day– he painted a picture of his uber appealing world (he owned homes, businesses, cars, etc yet failed to mention we had lost all of these things).  She kept up communication with him for my benefit and eventually, things got so uncomfortable for her that she closed her account and re-opened a more private one.

“X” was supposed to have the girls for his normal visitation at 9am on Saturday, March 19, 2011.

I awoke to a text message at 8:12am– less than an hour before pick-up time.  The text message told me to check my email and that he was “sorry” that he needed to cancel.  The email cited work-related reasons.  He went on to say that he had a series of reports that he had to finish by Monday morning.  He would be fired if he didn’t finish these.  He made sure to get in his normal “digs” by saying that I was dependent on his income to survive and that I should be grateful that he was taking this weekend to buckle down on work, etc.  Luckily, by now these digs were predictable and pathetic to me.

With access to his Facebook account, I was actually able to see that he wasn’t working.  He was actively pursuing an expensive wine tasting excursion with my friend in Napa, a 50-mile bike ride, bowling and a night at the local dueling piano bar.  His online profile stated the following, “I won’t hesitate to drop everything for the promise of a great time with someone who I enjoy“.    That was the most truthful thing that’s left his mouth in years.  He will even drop a weekend with his own daughters.

The end result of his failures to show up for visitation were always a mixture of feelings.

  • Sadness because he let my daughters down (again).
  • Happiness that I wouldn’t have to worry about the girls safety and well-being all weekend.
  • Frustration because my plans would have to be rescheduled or cancelled at the very last minute– work assignments, dates with Glenn or plans with friends.
  • Disappointment because I kept holding out hope that he would eventually pull it together and put the children before himself.

Can Facebook be used to prove character in divorce court?  Absolutely.

Always on Guard

Always on Guard

I received an unusual email from “X” with an offer to take the girls on Valentine’s Day weekend– he wanted to switch weekends with me.  He said, “I’m happy to take them so that you and Glenn can have a weekend away”. I knew something was up.

1. He has never said a nice thing about Glenn and in fact, constantly makes digs about him being older than me.  The reality– Glenn is nine years older.  That’s it.

2. He has never offered anything nice or kind in his life– at least not in the ten years that I’ve known him.  His “offers” always have something to do with his needs or gains.

I declined stating that we didn’t have plans and would be home.  He got frustrated and the truth came out– he had plans.  He said that his work was sending him out of state and that he was unable to keep his normal visitation.  He needed to switch weekends with me.  I didn’t have plans so I agreed to switch.

The power of Facebook and Social Media— his Facebook page showed him snowboarding in Utah all weekend.  Not the work trip that he had cited.

Why the need for lies?  Someone once told me that if you tell one lie, you need to tell at least 20 more to cover the initial lie.  I know this to be truth.  Had he just told me that he needed to switch weekends, I would have gladly done it.  Instead, it was a slew of lies– 1. He was offering to help us have a romantic Valentine’s Day…then he had an out-of-state work assignment…then he publicly posts Facebook photos of himself enjoying a weekend in Utah.

The lies are constant and unnecessary.

The truth is rarely utilized.

The result: I am always on guard.

Hurting My Little Girl

Hurting My Little Girl

We were still in the “in between”.  He had verbalized that it was done however, he was transitioning to a new job in the Bay Area so we were living under the same roof– trying to be civil.

Everything in his world was for show.  Had it been up to him, we would have had 2.5 children just to completely fit the mold of the perfect, all-American family.  We arrived home from an errand in his car– all of us together.  I had just warned him that our oldest daughter (almost four at the time) didn’t nap and was a bit cranky.  I knew he was in a bad mood– I could tell it was the type of quiet anger that frightened me.

I started walking into the house (through the garage) ahead of him –carrying our youngest daughter.  Our oldest daughter was upset about her jacket not being on properly and started to have a mini-meltdown.  The meltdown wasn’t the problem– it was the fact that she wasn’t “acting perfect” and there were neighbors watching.  He needed to “stop her” from throwing a fit– remove her from the eyes of onlookers before his image of perfection was tarnished.  He picked her up and carried her quickly through the garage– arms wrapped around her chest and squeezing her tightly to make her stop.

Squeezing her and hurting her to make her stop being a tired, four year old little girl.

I heard the commotion– her cry– the garage door shutting to keep the world from seeing the imperfection.  I turned to see him carrying her through the garage and into the house– the look on her face of shear terror.  I grabbed her from his arms and told  him to leave- to get out of our house.  Our renter was in the kitchen making tea– she was also our former nanny and the girls’ Godmother.  We placed her on the counter– she was in complete hysterics.  She look liked a caged animal.  I had never seen my baby look like this.  We held her– she was gagging…she couldn’t catch her breath.

I started a bath to calm her down– we sat with her and soothed her.  She continued to gag during the bath.  My heart broke that day.  My biggest regret and one of the few regrets in my life: not calling Child Protective Services.  

Days later, I insisted on going to our marriage therapist to explain what happened and ask for advice.  I notified him that I was going and it may be reported.  He attended the session- he admitted what happened and apologized.  The therapist told him to go back home and sit down with our daughter– admit to her that he did something very wrong and to apologize.

The therapist told him that he would assume this was a one-time occurrence but if it happened again…it would be reported.

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To purchase Tina’s new book, “Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle”, click here. You will find insight, red flag reflections and strategies on how to survive while divorcing a narcissist or co-parenting with a narcissist. Tired of panicking at the site of a new email from the narcissist in your inbox? Learn how to decode the emails and see them for what they are. You will learn to forgive yourself and to begin healing. 

Seth’s Mistress Strikes Again

Seth’s Mistress Strikes Again

May 2007- Triathlon: This time, I arrived for my annual camping adventure with a 2 year old and an 8-day old baby– and another c-section incision to deal with.  I was ready!  In fact, this year is was easier– I had become more robotic.  I knew what to expect and I even helped pack for the trip this time!  After all, I had four days to recover from a major surgery (yes, that is sarcasm).  I remember explaining to the surgeon that I needed a pain pump inserted into my incision– I had read about them online and knew it would drastically cut down on the pain during the trip.

He was very good at manipulations and I was very good at buying into them.  After all, if I was home (he explained) then I would be trying to do laundry, clean, etc.  Somehow, he became a hero with a brilliant plan to help me relax.  I packed my pain pills, crock pot, Vitamix and planned out our meals for the week.  He packed up the Airsteam and off we went.  He claimed it was the ideal situation— I could relax.

On the second night, I cooked a huge pot of pasta for a large group of 15 people.  I remember feeling as though daggers were being inserted into my wound but I was the good little wife- no complaints from me!

My best friend was there during this particular camping trip.  The funny thing is– we weren’t friends back then and we weren’t even acquaintances.  It’s ironic that we are even friends now…she didn’t like me.  She was there to support her husband and she thought I was pretentious in my “glamping” attire, new Airstream, new vehicles and my “shiny, happy life”.  It was a show.  I looked like the rich, modern version of June Cleaver but the reality is…I was sad, alone, pretending to be wealthy and I was miserable inside.  Heck, I had a full stomach of staples and a pain pump attached to my waist– I was pretending to be pain-free also.

I pretended a lot.

I pretended in my mind that I was loved.

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Divorcing a Narcissist: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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