I re-discovered another huge flaw in our system this week. Namely, how difficult it is to protect yourself from a Narcissist who hasn’t verbally threatened to inflict great bodily harm or worse, threatened your life.
I am tired of being afraid to walk through my own neighborhood. I am tired of being afraid to open my windows when I am home alone. I am envious of the people who have their front door wide open and I am envious of the summer breeze blowing through their living rooms. I want to be that woman taking a morning walk alone or the woman who is able to sweep her front porch without jumping at the sound of crackling leaves in the yard.
This week I called my local Women’s Shelter- the place where I spent a few days in 2009. I was asked the same questions that I was asked in 2009: “Has he hit you?” “Has he threatened your life“? The answers: No. He hasn’t. He knows how to stay within the limits. I had threatened a restraining order in the past and his response was along the lines of, “They say that nothing I’ve said constitutes a threat“. He knows how to threaten me in a passive aggressive way– in a subtle way that allows him to victimize me without recourse or consequences.
What prompted my call? I am moving. I am moving into my dream neighborhood- a small, quaint neighborhood where you can borrow a cup of sugar from your neighbor. It’s safe. It’s happy. It’s mine. I don’t want his venom to invade my peaceful world. I don’t want him to taint my safe haven by driving through my neighborhood minutes after he’s led us to believe that he was four hours away. I want to take away his opportunity to victimize me with his head games.
As I spoke to the intake counselor at the Women’s Shelter, I wondered: How do you explain the look in someone’s eyes that chills you to your core? How do you explain that you aren’t worried about being hit but you are worried about your life being taken by someone who appears normal but is the furthest thing from that word? I regretted the call before a full minute had passed. I instantly knew it was a waste of my time and a waste of the counselor’s time.
She gave me the normal advice: carry a video camera or a phone with a video camera. Document every time you see him and remember details- what was he wearing? What was he holding? What was he driving? All of that information is fabulous but it doesn’t help me now. By the end of September, I will be forced to tell him where we are living. The very man who terrorizes all of the women who “leave him”– I have been in communication with a total of three women since 2009 who are victims of my X. They have had to change their locks, write “cease and desist” letters and like me, they all live in fear for their safety. I am not giving up yet- I am still determined to find a way to seal my address.
Do I really think that a piece of paper will protect me from him? No- I’m not that naive but even if it bought me peace of mind for three months or six months, I’d be happy. It’s just another flaw in our system that infuriates me. The very system that was designed to protect is incredibly flawed.
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: Divorcing a narcissist? 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.