Tag Archives: personality disorders

Divorcing a Narcissist: It’s a Matter of Perspective

Divorcing a Narcissist: It’s a Matter of Perspective

GratitudeWe started a Facebook thread yesterday on “positive stories” and I wanted to re-post something that Rebecca said because I think it is so important.

“It is all about attitude and perspective. Some people choose to focus on negativity (how awful it was to be married to a NNN or to have children with an NNN) while others focus on positivity (how great life is now that the NNN is out of our daily life). Each of us whose lives have been touched by an NNN have been hurt but those with an attitude of gratitude revel in the healing, support of people like in this forum, growth of their children, etc and just use the negative aspects of life as learning lessons and stepping stones. Let’s choose to be happy, especially those of us not in the immediate throes of learning about narcissism and caught up in courtroom drama. Extend the hand of hope and happiness to those newly on the rocky journey.” -Rebecca

One life changing moment for me came in 2006 when I was pregnant with my second daughter, Sarah. A fellow mommy (Nicole) in my community was also pregnant and had a little boy (Jackson) who was only 22 months old. Jackson was just a tad bit older than my daughter, Piper. As Nicole was walking, Jackson let go of her hand and ran straight into the street. While we’ve all experienced these heart-stopping moments, Nicole was about to face the most horrific moment of her life. Jackson ran straight into traffic and was killed by an oncoming truck.  I participated in a fundraiser for the family less than a week after Jackson was killed and had the pleasure of meeting his mother, Nicole. I struggled to find words as I stared into her eyes…”I am so sorry…” was all that I could muster.

Nicole looked at me with tears welling up and she said words that will stay with me forever. She said words that changed my life. “I am going to be thankful for the 22 months that I was his mommy. I am thankful that I was able to stay at home and enjoy every moment with him. That is what I am going to focus on.”

From that day forward, and in memory of beautiful little Jackson, I have changed the way that I think about each situation that I encounter. There is always something to be grateful for. What are you grateful for today?  Gratitude is a powerful tool and one that can change your life. -Tina

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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.

What is The Lemonade Club (TLC)?

What is The Lemonade Club (TLC)?

TLC_logo_FINALby Tina Swithin

To say that I’ve been soul-searching is a vast understatement. I walked out of court on July 10th in a complete daze. It took me a good week to even cry and when that happened, it was in the middle of a John Mayer concert and all it took was one glass of wine. Who knew that flood gates could open SO wide. Glenn probably thought my onslaught of tears had to do with the fact that our concert seats were so bad. Nope. Emotional overload.

Even after the great flood of tears, I remained in a daze for weeks. I couldn’t grasp the fact that my monthly appearances in Family Court were OVER. The constant stress and worry surrounding Seth’s visits were OVER. The late night paperwork prep and runs to the Kinko’s copy center were OVER. In a matter of minutes, my life changed. I received validation but more importantly, I received the biggest blessing of my life: my children were safe.

 

To be brutally honest, I thought about shutting down my blog and closing this chapter of my life. I was done. I was burnt out. The emotional toll of this battle is extreme and it weighed on me greatly. I was able to justify walking away from this chapter of my life but something kept nagging at me. Once I caught up on my sleep and was able to let reality sink in, my thoughts began to shift. Could I really walk away from this village of people who have become such a huge part of my life? Knowing what I’ve been through, and what my children have been through, could I really turn my back on this cause?

The answer is no. I couldn’t.

Over the past two months, I’ve come to the realization that this IS my life mission. God placed me on this path for a reason and I’m not going to walk away now. I’ve done a lot of brainstorming and I’ve enlisted lots of trusted friends and loved ones to help me determine the next steps on my path. I want to expand on what has been created through my Facebook community and the blog– to take it to the next level. Because I have always had a spontaneous streak which has never let me down, I did something just a tad bit crazy.

I quit my job.

I quit my very stable job of four years.

Deep breath.

When I say that it’s a tad bit crazy, that may be an understatement. You see, I am not in a position to quit my job. I believe in this mission and I believe in what I can accomplish. Today I just signed up for my local “Toast Masters” group where I plan to work on my public speaking skills (lack of public speaking skills!). In 2014, I plan to begin speaking out about the issues in the Family Court System.

I took another huge leap of faith and started, “The Lemonade Club” which will officially launch next week. The Lemonade Club will be an extremely private (paid) forum where we can talk openly, support each other, become empowered, learn, laugh, cry and heal. Members will complete an application and undergo a phone interview to ensure that “trolls” are eliminated. Because I want to ensure that the group size stays manageable, it will be limited to 75 people. Over the next few months, my goal is to transition out of theNew Picture day-to-day operations of the Facebook page and focus on leading The Lemonade Club. I want to be able to talk openly about my story in a way that I wasn’t able to on the blog. I want to bring in guest bloggers who can share advice from the front lines. I want to take the momentum from the Facebook page and kick it up to the next level.

THE LEMONADE CLUB 

There was one point in time when I felt incredibly alone. I had been stripped of all of the things that once mattered to me. I was void of the people that I once called friends. When I tried to speak about what was happening in my life, two things happened:

  • I became mute because I was unable to articulate that I, like Alice, had fallen down a rabbit hole into a place called Wonderland.  While Alice was thrust into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures, I found myself in a world with similar creatures however; the players in my story lived in a world known as the Family Court System which was equally bizarre.
  • I felt like I was speaking a language that no one could understand. It was as if I had awoken in a foreign country and couldn’t speak the native language. People would tilt their head, giving me the all-to-familiar blank stare and then they would say the words that cut through my heart like a dagger: “Why can’t you two just get along for the sake of the children?”

Two years into the biggest battle of my life, I decided to start a blog to document my journey through a custody battle with someone who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I had no idea that each keystroke on my little laptop was bringing me one step closer to the universe answering my reoccurring, desperate plea: “Please, God. Help me. I am alone and I am terrified.”  

Within weeks, I was watching the Today Show. Thank you, Universe. I never watch television but something prompted me to flip on the TV in March of 2012. Matt Lauer was interviewing Christie Brinkley and in his Neanderthal, 1950’s man-brain, he criticized her role in a custody battle with malignant narcissist, Peter Cook. Christie, while choking back tears muttered a series of words that would change my life forever: “Google, ‘Divorcing a Narcissist.’” I was no longer alone and in fact, thousands of people began Googling those three little words and subsequently, connecting with my blog.

I had no idea that so many people were experiencing the same thing. I was no longer alone in Wonderland. These people spoke my language. They didn’t tilt their heads in amazement as I spoke. They understood. These were my people. Through this experience, I connected with men and women across the world who had been suffering in silence. We began to support, encourage and empower each other. Together, we took truckloads of lemons and we whipped up lemonade, lemon pastries, lemon meringue and on occasion, we made lemon drops!

We were lemonade warriors.

We became The Lemonade Club (TLC).

Together, we began to reclaim our voices. Once united, our lives began to change. We’ve learned that knowledge and education can take us from the role of victim to survivor. The Lemonade Club is a group of women who support each other in every aspect of life. It takes a village and in our village, we harvest groves of lemons and make huge batches of kick-bootie lemonade.

I hope you’ll join me at The Lemonade Club!  Details to follow….With love, Tina

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

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.

One Mom’s Battle on Candace Smyth’s North Star Interview Series

One Mom’s Battle on Candace Smyth’s North Star Interview Series

North Star Interview SeriesI was honored to be included on Candace Smyth’s latest North Star Interview Series on the topic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the Family Court System.

Candace offers a weekly interview series with divorce-related professionals and is a great resource to align with if you are currently in the divorce process.

To hear the interview, click here.

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

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 decode the emails and see them for what they are. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.

Reflecting on 2012: Hopeful, Thankful and Excited for 2013

Reflecting on 2012: Hopeful, Thankful and Excited for 2013

2012 2013As 2012 comes to a close, I am left reflecting on all that has happened in the past twelve months.

I am thankful:

  • For my daughters. I am in awe that God trusted in me enough to be their mother.
  • For each of the 2,311 men and women on the One Mom’s Battle Facebook page. This community has been a lifeline for me and so many others. This forum has been a place of education, inspiration, tears, support and a great deal of love. The people on this forum understand what it is like to be a victim of NPD and we all have the ultimate goal of being labeled with the title of “survivor.”
  • For the press that has been generated on the topic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder through outlets such as xojane.com, The Huffington Post, Examiner.com, Yahoo.com, Washington Times and more.
  • For my latest title of “Huffington Post Blogger” and my first post to mark the end of the year: “Communicating With A Narcissist: Using The Narc Decoder“.
  • For the experience that I have gained through my day job.  Being able to make a living blogging, doing social media and public relations has given me the tools and expertise to bring this issue from the pages of my diary to the top media outlets around the world.
  • That I was able to share my story, insight and experience with the world through my new book, “Divorcing a Narcissist“.  I am thankful for the reviews that I have received so far and look forward to writing a companion book which will help others to examine their role in the toxic relationship which will help them to avoid making the same mistakes twice.
  • For the new guest bloggers on One Mom’s Battle: “An Uphill Battle“, “Claire“, “A Whale of a Tale”, “Olivia“, “A Father’s Silent Scream“, “Thrown to the Wolf” and all of the other men and women who have shared their stories.  There is power in numbers and our numbers are growing.
  • For the personal growth and insight that I have experienced over the past year.
  • That I will soon begin the next chapter of my life when I re-marry in the spring of 2013. I am content and happy in a healthy relationship that is filled with love, mutual respect, companionship and communication. I am thankful to be able to model such a relationship to my daughters.

I am hopeful:

  • That the platform that has been built over the past year will allow for continued education. I firmly believe that keeping this topic in the media will educate the general public about narcissism.  Our next generation of men and women need to be aware of the signs of NPD to avoid repeating the cycle. It will take all of our voices to be heard.
  • That the Family Court System will begin to receive education on high conflict divorce and personality disorders. My goal is to get my book in front of as many Judges, Commissioners, attorneys, GALs, Parenting Evaluators and anyone else who has a hand in deciding the fate of a child. The children are dependent on US to be their voices in this battle.
  • That the media will continue to shine the spotlight on narcissism and personality disorders.

What I have learned:

  • That I can’t save everyone. Some of the stories that I hear are heart wrenching. My instinct is to try and help everyone but I can’t. Sometimes all I can do is offer words of wisdom and inspiration– I have learned that many times, that is all that is needed to give someone hope.  A virtual hug is my go-to tool when I am left speechless.
  • That being in the media spotlight brings forth “trolls”.  I have learned that trolls are mean, bitter people and that nothing I say or do will change their mindset. I have learned that it is not worth my time or energy to try and explain my position to these online lurkers.  Do you remember when you were first learning to give a speech in front of a group?  We are taught to picture the audience naked in an attempt to bring forth humor and ease anxiety.  I have learned to picture these “internet trolls” as scary little men who are sitting in a dark room and typing in their whitey-tighties with the eerie glow of the computer screen lighting up their little faces.

I am excited for 2013:

  • To start the year with the honor of being featured as a Inspirational Luminary on  InspireMeToday.com. I have followed this website for the past year and look forward to starting each day with the inspiration and wisdom of people such as Neale Donald Walsch, Guy Laliberte and Marci Shimoff.  I am honored to be with such esteemed company and I look forward to sharing my feature with each of you!
  • To be interviewed by Dr. Carole Lieberman, M.D. on “Dr. Carole’s Couch” on January 8, 2013.
  • To have an established platform which will allow me to continue to speak out to the public, the media and the Family Court System.

In closing:

I know that we are each in different places in this battle.  Some have made it to the light at the end of the tunnel and others are straining very hard to see the slight flicker of a light. I beg you to keep putting one foot in front of the other no matter how difficult it seems. The children are depending on each of us to keep moving forward and to be their voice. Keep commenting when you see articles posted on Family Court or narcissism.  Keep writing letters to your elected officials and keep speaking up.

  • He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:29-31
  • He who has hope has everything. –Arabian Proverb

Sending you love, light and hope for 2013.  Thank you for all you’ve given to me.  Love, Tina

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

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 decode the emails and see them for what they are. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.