Friday, August 14, 2009- I left home for the weekend in Orange County to visit my little sister and her family. I actually had peace of mind leaving him with the girls as our nanny was moving into our home that day. She had cared for my children since my youngest was a wee little one and I had complete confidence that she would keep an eye on things during my weekends away from the girls.
I got a panicked, teary call from “the nanny” on Saturday night. She had snuck away to call me despite being threatened to remain silent about what was happening at home. The house had been stripped bare. Everything that I owned…everything that we had worked for during our ten years together was gone.
Seth had a Uhaul truck and his aunt lying in wait. Waiting for me to leave for the weekend. Almost as soon as I left the house…they began to remove all of my belongings. My bed, my dressers, my houseplants, my kitchen table, couches, art….every single thing I owned was removed from the house. Everything except my daughters’ bedroom furniture. They even took the photos of my children off the walls. Every photo…gone. $20,000 worth of my possessions….but it was the loss of the photos that hurt the most.
Seth insisted that the nanny meet him for coffee on Saturday morning. This was the day she was moving in. He looked weird…shaking…stuttering…and he told her that he would evict her that day if she called me and told me what was happening. She was afraid of him. Didn’t know what to do– had no where to go as she had given notice at her former home. She called me anyway and then she made plans to move out of our home…the day she was moving in.
I was numb. I cried a lot that night. The tears had to do with the things but they had more to do with the realization that I was beginning a really scary journey with an unstable person. I didn’t want to return home and “react” as I knew that’s what he wanted. I was incredibly thankful that “the nanny” had called me and warned me….which gave me time to process and cope.
Upon returning to the home, I found that he had replaced my bedroom furniture with a toddler bed from IKEA along with matching dressers. He decorated my room like a child’s room…pink boas, stuffed animals, child’s comforter, framed photos of me as a little girl and other bizarre items. He left a book on my bed titled, “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands”. My entire drawer of undergarments was also missing. He left my clothing…everything else was gone. I was scared and I was worried for my personal safety.
2010….one year later…I found a video tape in which he had created during this weekend. It was a bizarre video of my daughters. He wanted to “capture” their reaction to the home being gutted…he waited for them to come out of their bedroom on Saturday morning…he was talking in a high pitched, manic voice. Almost like a Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood tone…he sounded happy….pleased with himself. This isn’t Mr. Rodger’s neighborhood and we aren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto.
I can’t watch the video to this day without crying….
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.