Tag Archives: triathlons divorce

Another Missed Visitation

Another Missed Visitation

This weekend was suppose to be my X’s weekend with the children.  He refused to comply with the orders as they are written even after being lectured by the attorney representing my daughters.  The result: visitation cancelled.

I made the decision to cancel Saturday’s visitation for non-compliance and gave him the chance to see the girls on Sunday.  It’s such a simple order– email around ten am the day prior (24 hours notice) confirming in writing that he will exercise his rights to visitation.   He has a Blackberry and he has internet on his phone.  He also has Gmail.   Last night I described it best: it’s like having a stand-off with a two-year old.

If you are having a stand-off with a two year old then there are resources available to help.  There are parenting books and television shows like the Supernanny.  When you are having a stand-off with a 37-year old man, it’s just plain frustrating.  Like another single mommy who I admire recently said, “Actions = Consequences”.

The bottom line is this: his defiance caused him to miss time with his daughters.  That is sad.

Saturday afternoon, the girls and I went to a New Year’s Eve celebration at our local Children’s Museum complete with a 12pm countdown, balloon drop and apple cider toast.  We made party hats and noisemakers and had a great time.  We went on with our day and that’s what we will continue to do —whether he chooses to participate in their lives or not.

This morning I was talking to the girls at breakfast about the new year and my aspirations– to have more joy in my heart and to live each day in gratitude.  We talked about things we each hoped for and wanted to work on.  My 6 year old daughter looked and me and said, “Do you know what I wish for but I don’t think it will happen?  For Daddy to be nicer to you“.  I didn’t know what to say– I just leaned over and gave her a hug.

There is no manual or script and there are no cue cards or Cliff Notes.  Sometimes I don’t have the answers– just hugs.

Forgiveness – and Pepper Spraying Myself

Forgiveness – and Pepper Spraying Myself

That is a big word to me right now.  Forgiveness.  It’s a word that I struggle with. 

I’ve never “hated” anyone in my life.  It’s a new feeling.  It’s a feeling that I don’t like. It’s a feeling that I want to get rid of but I don’t know how.  I believe that to forgive...I have to stop hating. 

I also believe that time helps to heal wounds and in my case– there is no time to heal because every week, there is a new occurrence to hate.  Last night he called…for the third time since last June.  In six months, he has made only three attempts to call.  Within 30 seconds of being on the phone, the narcissism took over– he talked about himself– his race tomorrow in San Francisco.  He made sure to ask my six year old if she was the fastest runner in her class– that is what is important to him.  She admitted that she wasn’t and he didn’t know how to handle it– he laughed…uncomfortably.  It was painful to listen to.  I hated it.

How do you not hate someone who hurts your children over…and over…and over?  How do you not hate someone who has put you through living hell?  Someone who causes you to live in constant fear for your life– for your safety.  Someone who has told lies to win– and someone who’s entire goal is to “win”.  A wise person once told me that you have to love your children more than you hate the person you are divorcing.  I have that going for me.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t.

“True forgiveness is not an action after the fact, it is an attitude with which you enter each moment.” David Ridge

I am now living in a safe environment.  It’s the first time in over two years that I can sleep through the night.  It’s the first time that a noise in the middle of the night doesn’t make me bolt upright, start praying…and cry.  I lived with an industrial strength Mace as my bedmate for two years and a smaller bottle as my constant companion in the house.  It’s not a fun way to live.  I don’t recommend it.

Post traumatic stress- it isn’t just for veterans of war.  It’s also for women who have been through divorce with a scary and unstable person.  I am jumpy and I have anxiety on occasion– it’s getting better but it’s still there.

I want to learn how to forgive and I want to know how to stop hating.  I am trying but I feel like I am failing.  

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Note from Tina:

This blog is therapeutic– it’s helping me to heal.  It’s helping me to find my voice and share a story that I have kept bottled up.  Normally, I am funny– I make people laugh and I like to laugh.  Reliving this story is hard.  I am trying to find balance in telling this hellish story but not loosing myself back into the dark hole.

On that note, I must share a little bit of “me” and how dangerous it is for me to keep a bottle of Mace as my constant companion.  I am blonde and anyone who knows me can attest to my blonde moments.  I embrace these moments– they make me who I am.  I had a funny blonde moment with my Mace about 6 months ago and I must share–

I was carrying my Mace through the house and read the bottle which said to “test periodically in a well ventilated area”.  Brilliant idea, I thought!  I’ve never actually “tested” it.  The front yard of my condo was long and narrow– with a wall on each side.  I walked outside and pulled the trigger – a huge burst of red spray shot forth and covered the wall.  I panicked and grabbed the hose– quickly trying to clean the residue which was sure to stain the wall.  In my haste, I ran straight into the cloud of Mace and essentially, maced myself.

You have never truly coughed unless you’ve been maced.  You know that bad cold that turns to bronchitis?  It has NOTHING on a mace cough.  I gasped for air, I cried, I choked…I thought I was going to DIE.  It lasted forever.  and ever.  Once I could breathe, I called my loved ones who proceeded to gasp for air…while laughing.

It get’s better– I also maced my neighbor.  The poor guy next door was in his upstairs bedroom and heard me coughing and gasping.  It walked to the open window to check on my well-being…only to inhale the red cloud as it drifted through the air.

Moral of the story: when they say, “use in a well-ventilated area”…they really mean that.  

Another White Picket Fence Moment

Another White Picket Fence Moment

We sat in court on May 27, 2011 and my X was asking for additional visitation.  Additional visits meant less child support.  Additional visits also equals “winning” which is what is most important to him.  He’s set on “winning” at all costs. I’m tempted to use a Charlie Sheen reference but I will hold back.

He brought his cousin into the courtroom to testify on his behalf.  My X’s agenda was to prove that he had a stable, safe environment for the girls.  He grilled me on the stand– asked me what I thought about his cousin.  I answered honestly- “I respected his cousin and I respected his cousin’s wife.  I respected them as people and as parents“.  At that point in time, I did.

The thought of my children staying at their home on the weekends actually set my mind at ease.  They were good people and their children were the same age as our children.  They claimed in court that my X had total and complete use of a guest house on their property.  I was more at ease knowing that his cousin’s wife would be in the general vicinity to “supervise” and I was at ease knowing that my daughters would be in one place each weekend rather than a new bed each night.  I was hoping in that moment that I could trust what they were saying.  I wanted to believe the white picket fence story with every ounce of my being.

In the visitations immediately following this court date, this is what happened:

  • June 3-5, 2011 — The girl’s Father-Daughter Call: No Show
  • June 17-20, 2011 — They did not stay at his cousin’s house as they had testified in court.  On Friday night, they stayed in San Francisco at his condo.  The second night, they stayed in his friend’s home somewhere in San Francisco– they did not know these people prior to sleeping there.  The third night, they stayed in a hotel.  Three different beds in three different nights.
  • July 1-5, 2011– They stated with a family friend in Morro Bay, California.  My daughters returned home with bad sunburns (the first of their lives) and my youngest daughter had a horrendous rash from defecating in her pants and sitting in it while at the beach.  She had been potty trained since she was 2 years old.  She was 4 at the time.  These were documented by our pediatrician.
  • July 15-18, 2011– They stayed in a hotel.
  • July 29-31, 2011–I received an email 11:00pm stating that his cousins house was unavailable and that he had to drive the children four hours north to San Francisco.  I was unable to contact the children all weekend despite many attempts.  My daughter normally calls me several times each day so I was getting very concerned.  I finally contacted the San Francisco Police and Child Welfare Services to investigate but they couldn’t verify the address that he supplied me.  He ended up returning the children early with no explanation.  I later discovered that this was the weekend of “The Monster and the Parking Structure” incident.

There is no white picket fence and there is no stability.  The court presentation was all for show which has been one of the biggest obstacles in this battle.  The lack of stability causes visible signs of stress– bed wetting and other things.  As a mother, it is heartbreaking to watch.  I feel helpless and I am desperate for someone to stop this from happening to my daughters.  I am beginning to realize that I can’t depend on the courts– I have to take matters into my own hands.

The Annual Father-Daughter Dance

The Annual Father-Daughter Dance

Saturday, June 4th, 2011 was a very important day in the lives of two little girls.  It was the “Annual Father-Daughter Dance” through my daughter’s Girl Scouts Troop.  The event was talked about at each Girl Scouts meeting for two months leading up to the event.  The girls were so excited about attending this Greek Themed Ball.  These events are a big deal when you are four and six years old.

At that point in time, my X’s visitation was to begin at 3:30pm on Friday and last until Sunday evening.

We drove to the Starbucks location on Friday afternoon where the pick-up was supposed to take place and we waited.  Then we waited some more.  He never showed up.  We called his phone- no answer.  We left a voice mail and then we drove home.  I was livid.  How could he do this to them on such an important weekend?  To this day, I will never understand it.

I was careful not to upset the girls.  Glenn and I had already discussed a back-up plan in advance.  I had even discussed a back-up plan with the girls when my oldest asked, “what if daddy doesn’t come”.  I told her that her Uncle would take her (he lives 2 hours away) or Glenn would be happy to accompany them.  I’ve learned to always be a step ahead of him.  Glenn offered to step in and take the girls to their dance.  They were excited.

I got the girls dolled up in their finest Greek attire – white gowns with gold sashes, gold bracelets, make-up and fabulous up-dos.  They danced, participated in hula hoop contests, played games and had a great evening.  The night was saved and the girls were happy– that is what mattered most.

It is his loss–he missed out on a precious moment in time with his daughters. 

I later discovered that he had been fired from his job just days before and spent the weekend drinking wine in Napa.  Alcohol came before our daughters once again.

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 

A Scary Financial Roller Coaster

A Scary Financial Roller Coaster

Our financial world was like being on the scariest roller coaster ride you could ever image.  Once or twice every year, he would sit me down and tell me that it was all over.  We’re losing everything.  It would be the same conversation each time– I would be terrified but relieved.

Relieved that it was finally over and we could have normal lives– 9-5 jobs with paychecks which would force us to live within our means.  If we lost everything, the houses and cars– we could be normal.  We could rent a home and actually be a family on the weekends rather than two robotic people working 75-hours per week and living on coffee.  We could stop pretending and be a real family.

There was constantly stress in the home when he was around.  I used to be envious when hearing other moms talk about their husbands coming home in the evening to squealing children, laughter and family time.  When my X would walk in the door, my young daughter would run from him.  His stress levels were off the charts and she could sense it when he was around.

Each and every time that we were on the verge of financial collapse, he would pull off some great feat at the very last moment.  I would usually be sitting at the kitchen table staring at a $800 electric bill with a 48-hour shut off notice and he would rush through the door on a euphoric high.  He would announce that he talked the bank into another loan…or he would tell me that every thing was going to be okay but that I didn’t need to know the details of what he “pulled off”.  Just “trust him” would be the request.  I did.  He always seemed to make things happen.  Sometimes I wondered why I even got upset in the first place.  Somehow, it always worked out.

In the beginning of 2006, we were once again loosing everything– the 4,000 square foot home, the cars and the business.  He met with a business savvy group of investors and he was able to convince them to come on board with us.  They agreed to a partnership.  They agreed to pay off the past debts and print our next magazine (we were in the publishing business) in exchange for a 50/50 partnership.  He agreed.  It was the answer to his prayers– people with millions of dollars who could support his endeavor.  I was relieved as he told me that I never had to worry again.

Seth started spending.  He started acting manic– we were going to expand the business into other areas.  He bought, bought and bought more.  A 30′ Airstream, new vehicles and other items.  He was on top of the world and felt unstoppable.  He interacted with this group of investors and I stayed on the sidelines believing everything I was being told.  The long and short: things were fabulous and we were set for life.

Wrong.

December 2006: I was 5 months pregnant with our second daughter and the investors called a board meeting.  I was instructed to attend.  We arrived at the meeting location and it was in a downstairs banquet room of a local restaurant.  We sat down and waited for them to arrive.  You could feel the tension in the room from the very moment they walked through the doors.  One of them dropped a heavy file on the desk with obvious intention.  It was the financials for the business.  I had a feeling that all hell was about to break loose.  It did.

The company CEO yelled profanities.  “F” bombs were flying and headed in our direction.  The CEO said, “What in the HELL is wrong with you?!”.  They proceeded to tell us that they wanted out of the business.  They were writing us off as a loss and walking away.  The business was over.

Negotiations began over the next few weeks and my ex found a way (once again) to continue the business.  They struck up a deal to purchase our house– a very nice house in a prestigious community.  They wanted the house and equity– we would get the business back.  I wanted to close the business and walk away from it all.  I was done.  I could not handle another day on this roller coaster.  I wanted to pull up the safety bar and get the hell off this ride.  I didn’t want to walk away from the home because the equity from the home didn’t belong to us.  It belonged to my ex-mother-in-law and father-in-law.  It wasn’t his right to gamble this money.  He was gambling upwards of $400,000 of his parents retirement.  He did it anyway.

We had 14 days to leave our home— at Christmas with a 1.5 year old little girl and I was due to have a baby in four months.  It all happened so fast that my head was spinning as I packed up our entire home while stepping over Christmas presents.

During this same time, I resigned from our company.  If he was going to choose to continue the business then I was done.  I was constantly in the middle of Seth and the staff members — he had zero empathy for these fabulous, talented people who sacrificed so much yet were never good enough for him.  I had close bonds with them and many felt like family to me.  I knew that working in this environment would ruin our marriage.  I couldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t take the stress.

I sent Seth an official resignation letter. I quit.

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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 

Seth’s Mistress: Narcissists and Triathlons

Seth’s Mistress: Narcissists and Triathlons

April of 2005– the Wildflower Triathlon.  Part of my healing is owning my role in a really selfish and dysfunctional relationship.  I wanted to be loved and would go to any length to make that happen.  This story is just one of many examples that shows how much control there was.  It’s hard to imagine that I was once this shell of a person.

He is a triathlete.  Someone told me in 2004 that triathlons were a recipe for divorce.  I thought that was a really strange statement.  No truer words have been spoken.  I was due to have my first daughter on April 10, 2005.  He was spending every minute training for his upcoming race– which was April 30.  My due date came and went…he came and went.  Almost every day,  Seth drove over an hour and a half (each way) to the site of the race in preparation for the event.  I was terrified that I would go into labor alone.

My due date was a huge inconvenience to his training schedule. He made this extremely clear.  On day 7 of being overdue– he was still driving out to the lake.  I was a wreck– I couldn’t understand how he could keep leaving me.  His compromise was that I come with him and sit in a lawn chair.  He would swim across the lake, do a 30-minute run and then he would embark on a long bike ride.  I sat in a lawn chair having contractions and praying that I didn’t go into labor.

Every other day I drove with him to the lake where I sat and waited.  I sat there each time for up to two hours by myself.  On April 18th, 2005, I was 8 days overdue.  I sat there in my chair waiting but having really intense contractions this time.  We went home and I went into labor.  The next day, I became a mom.

After 32 hours of labor, I had a c-section.  I was released from the hospital on Saturday, April 23rd and the very next day, he began packing us up for a week-long camping trip at the lake.  I had staples in my stomach and a newborn baby in my arms but we went camping for one week.  Everyone at the lake thought thought I was insane.  Looking back, I was insane.  Who was I?  Did I not have a brain?  An opinion?  A say in anything?

I don’t know how to answer that.

I spent four days camping in a trailer while he did his triathlon.  His mistress- triathlons.  I remember him bragging to people at the campfire about what a great wife I was.  I remember the wives looking at me like I was crazy while the husbands gave him mental high-fives.

At that point in time, I knew I would never come first to him.

I was lucky if I placed fifth in this race.

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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