While writing this blog has been therapeutic, it has also been difficult on occasion. The blog gives me a voice that was previously forced into submission. I’ve been able to break free from the choke hold. It’s empowering. I don’t want to be seen as a victim– that’s not who I am. There were times in this story that I felt like a victim but that’s not what I want to be known for. I would go through everything again to be the strong, confident woman that I am today. I would do it again to find the strong friendships with the people in my circle because I was previously lacking that.
One gift that I’ve been given is the ability to look at a situation and see the positives. A very wise friend once told me that the story has already been written– it’s my job to walk it out. I want to walk out my journey with a glass that remains half full at all times.
I’ve received a lot of feedback on my blog from random people and others who are very near and dear to my heart. I’m listening to all of it and taking the comments to heart. I appreciate the opinions– the good and the bad.
I want to stay true to myself with the blog and staying true means remaining grateful for the angels who have appeared in my life. When things look dim, I try to look for little bits of inspiration– a quote on a coffee cup, a song on the radio or someone who comes into my life at just the right moment. It’s amazing how the simplest thing can stop a pity party dead in it’s tracks.
In 2010, I met with an attorney in Morro Bay, California who reviewed my case and actually offered to help me for free. While he could not represent me– he offered his assistance in reviewing my paperwork and giving me advice. At the time I was incredibly appreciative however, I had a difficult time accepting free help. I went on my way– court date after court date and loads of paperwork to prepare for each.
In the beginning of 2011, I had reached a breaking point. He wasn’t showing up for visits, he was violating all of the items in our parenting agreement and was ignoring my attempts to finalize the divorce. I went back to the attorney and explained to him that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel however, I was out of steam. I needed to prepare my trial brief which was overwhelming and I didn’t know where to begin.
The attorney and his wife (my two angels) offered to help me once again. He met with me and reviewed my case. He gave me pointers on my trial brief and then offered to review it and meet with me again before court to prepare me for trial. His wife helped me to subpoena the records I needed and helped me with the proper forms.
I went home and I went to work. I worked night and day on my trial brief— and then again the next day. And the next. My final trial brief was 47 typed pages. FORTY-SEVEN typed pages. I drank a lot of coffee and I got a few new wrinkles. My bedroom floor looked like a paper factory exploded. I didn’t sleep very much during those two weeks– I went to work during the day….I was “mom” in the evenings and after sunset, I became my own attorney.
I met with my “angels” a couple of times for further review and additional pointers and then…I went to trial. With my 47 page document in hand and my game face back on…Pro se legal representation is defined as advocating on one’s own behalf before a court and that’s what I did.
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.