by Tina Swithin

On May 25, 2000, I met a sociopath. That is the day my battle first began. At 26 years old, I was naïve, and I saw the best in everyone. I was spontaneous and carefree yet had an amazing work ethic. He came from the “perfect” family and I was from a broken home. His parents had been married over 30 years and I was born to teen parents who divorced before my first birthday. He showered me with compliments, poetry, gifts, vacations and, what I thought was love.

We married in 2001 and our daughters were born in 2005 and 2007.

My Prince Charming turned out to be a scam artist and an emotional vampire. My therapist stated that he was a Narcissist but that was before he really showed his dark side. He was actually a sociopath (antisocial personality disorder). I thought it was a nightmare to be married to him….and then our divorce and custody battle began. A nightmare is isolated to one night…this was more than a nightmare.

I just wanted peace.

Our divorce was filed in 2009. As someone who hates conflict, I was blindsided by my ex-husband’s desire to destroy me on every level.

I just wanted peace.

Our first custody evaluation was ordered that same year. The Custody Evaluator failed my daughters.

They just wanted peace.

Minor’s Counsel was appointed in 2011 because of my accusations against my ex-husband’s brother and my pleas to keep him away from our daughters along with ongoing and mounting issues with my ex-husband. Minor’s counsel failed my daughters.

We just wanted peace.

I was in court 13 times in 2012 alone. The court continued to fail my daughters.

We just wanted peace.

Our second custody evaluation began in 2013 and by July of 2013, my ex-husband was ordered to have professionally supervised visits. He disappeared for 15 months and for the first time in their lives, my daughters got to experience what “peace” felt like.

They just wanted peace.

In 2014, my ex-husband shattered our peace by reappearing and demanding visitation. The court finally got it right when they stripped my ex-husband of his parenting time but not before my ex-husband turned our lives upside down. Once again, we got a taste of what peace felt like. That’s all we’ve ever wanted.

In 2016, my ex-husband’s brother was arrested. The very brother that I fought to protect my daughters from. My instincts about him were accurate all along and as it turns out, he is the biggest pedophile in the history of San Luis Obispo County and currently sits behind bars awaiting trial on a $7 million-dollar bail. With his arrest, my world was turned upside down and I had what would be described by many as a nervous breakdown. On top of that, due to the media exposure, my ex-in-laws issued me a ‘cease and desist’ to stop speaking my truth about their family. I just want peace, truth, and justice for his many victims.

In 2017, my ex-husband’s parents moved into my town. They live less than two miles from my house and on any given day, I run into them at the post office, the grocery store, coffee shops and downtown near my office. My ex-husband triggers my PTSD but nothing like his parents do. In my mind, they are the enablers and the creators of the madness that surrounds me and has threatened to destroy me on many occasions. I now want nothing more than to flee the very town I’ve called, “home” for 33 years.

I just want peace.

I have seen glimmers of peace along this journey. I’ve held peace in my hands and I’ve watched it slip through my fingers at the mercy of a sociopath, his family and a very broken family court system. I’ve held it so I know that it exists and I so desperately crave it. I just want peace for myself, for my children and for my family.

#ijustwantpeace

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