There has been a lot of interest in how Tina and I developed and continue to maintain a healthy relationship while the battles rage around us, ours and yours. The basic question is, what advice would I give to someone in my shoes…?
My reaction is always the same: We all wear different shoes. Our stories are different. The variables that make up our experiences and guide our decisions on any given issue are different. I am the only one who understands what I’ve done, what I’ve been through.
That’s how Tina felt when she started writing. That’s how most of you felt before you found this site. The problem for me is, I get it. I know how this works. If I start writing from the heart, with the hope that my insights help one person, I will find that I am not alone and that there is a common thread that binds us all together.
So, with that in mind, and because you asked nicely, here we go.
To start, I think we need to keep in mind that this is a blog. I’m going to start at the beginning and work forward in small increments, touching on relevant aspects of my own story that contribute to my understanding of people, divorce, relationships, and coping skills.
I had a pretty normal childhood. Two parents, a younger brother, a dog. My parents divorced when I was 11. I can still hear myself screaming at the news. I didn’t take it well. We moved with Mom 300 miles away and spent summers with Dad. I became an angry teenager. My Mom and I raged. I pushed buttons, she threw full glasses of ice water at my head. It got to the point where, at 14, she let me move back and live with my Dad. I left my brother behind. Looking back, not cool. But, I was an angry, lost, 14 year old. I’ll take a look at teenagers later from both sides of the fence, but for now, I’ll let that sleeping dog lie, shake my head, be thankful I survived, and move on.
It wasn’t too long before my Mom and brother returned to my hometown. My Dad remarried, I got a step Mom, and a step-sister. That’s when the fine art of playing games between divorced parents really began. I recently ran into a high school acquaintance who commented that my best friend and I had the least parental supervision of anyone he’d ever met. Sounds about right. In my defense, I graduated. I hit 9 schools and skipped the third grade getting there, it was close, but I graduated.
So, what’s the point of this first installment? I’m guessing we all have life history and divorce baggage. Whether it’s from our parents, family, or close friends, we’ve all had the opportunity to pack our bags with preconceptions of what a divorce is and does. I know I did when it came time for my own divorce. For the most part, mine was predictable. An agonizingly predictable trip through Crazyland. My situation still throws a rogue wave every now and then, but the flood waters of the River Styx have subsided.
Then came Tina’s divorce…. and that, my friends, is a whole ‘nother story.
One Mom’s Battle: 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), Custody Evaluators, therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children.
History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2009, 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. Tina’s battle spanned from 2009 – 2014 during which time she acted as her own attorney. Ultimately, Tina was successful in protecting her daughters and her family has enjoyed complete peace since October 2014 when a Family Court commissioner called her ex-husband a “sociopath” and revoked his parenting time in a final custody order.
Tina Swithin: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon (print, Kindle or audio format). Each year, Tina offers life-changing weekends of camaraderie and healing at the Lemonade Power Retreat. Tina also offers one-on-one coaching services and a private, secure forum called, The Lemonade Club, for those enduring high-conflict custody battles.