I’ve had a lot of people approach me about going public with their story either by blog or by book. Many want to know how it has affected my case and they want general advice on the topic. I received a phone call yesterday from a wonderful woman named Donna, who runs a national non-profit organization helping mothers who are in the midst of their own custody battles. She said that she is often approached with the same question and she advises people not to go public until their case is over. Lately she has been receiving this response, “Why does Tina get to do it then?!” Donna wanted to ask that exact question: why does Tina get to do it?
My response to Donna and to you:
If I had a ‘rewind’ button, I would probably go back and do some things differently. If I had it to do again, I would not have used my last name. In November of 2011 when I first began writing, I had no idea that I would have 200,000 page views in one year. I was writing with no clear direction for the blog and no knowledge of the doors that it would open for me. While I don’t regret anything, I would have remained a bit more anonymous.
Because I have only used my maiden name, my blog will not reveal my x’s identity unless he tells people about it. The average person would never make the connection and therefore, it cannot affect his job, ability to rent a home, find a girlfriend, etc. He has often accused me of the following things in court documents:
- Defamation: a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone’s words or actions.
- Slander: The action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.
- Libel: A published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation.
None of these things apply for two reasons: nothing that I have said is false and I am not publicly naming him nor will I ever. He is responsible for telling multiple people about my blog. That is something that he has to own- not me. If he doesn’t like it, he shouldn’t read it. It’s not about him: it’s about divorcing a Narcissist (insert the photo of your x here).
I would have done a bit more research on the laws and ramifications. Thankfully, the courtroom where my case resides has tolerated my blog and cited freedom of speech when it has been brought up. I have heard countless stories about other courtrooms where things like this were not accepted with open arms. A different state, county or courtroom and it could have taken a different turn.
On the phone call, Donna and I also discussed my reasons for continuing the blog. She suspected that it was a way to keep the court on their toes when it came to my case. I had to really stop and think because this blog has done so many things for me. I don’t think that my blog is personal to my courtroom. I think that it (hopefully) can be seen as fairly generic. Insert the name of your courtroom and it’s your story. I write about my experience because it seems to be a problem across the board. There are ups and downs for each of us whether it is with a GAL/Minor’s Counsel, Parenting Coordinator, Parenting Evaluator, therapist or the clerk who took in your papers at the front desk. If the publicity that my blog generates in the media helps to educate and in turn keep my children safe (and your children safe) then I guess it is a win-win.
If you are considering starting a blog or writing a book, I encourage you to do so but you need to stop and evaluate many things- your reasons for doing it, the desired outcome, how it could affect your case and your children while keeping in mind that anything and everything that you write could be read out loud in the courtroom. You don’t have to publish your blog and you may even consider keeping it private like you would with a journal or only sharing it with close friends and family members. Journaling is a great outlet to rid yourself of the feelings and anxiety that goes hand in hand with this battle.
Another question that I am often asked- how will this blog affect your children?
In my house, we are very careful and sensitive to this topic. My daughters currently do not have access to the internet but with the recent installation of a computer in their bedroom, this is of obvious concern. We are currently researching parental control software for the home computers which will protect them from all adult-related material and block my blog from their view. Until those items are in place, they have no access to the internet. For obvious reasons, this is a topic that should be given a great deal of contemplation before you move forward.
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