I recently received a sympathy card from a dear friend. It was a sympathy card for my loss. The loss of my marriage. It was probably one of the most touching cards that I have ever received but nonetheless, it was a sympathy card. At first, it struck me as odd but the more I think about it…it was completely appropriate.
Today I was jogging which I do about three days per week. I place my daughters in the jogging stroller clad in their little pajamas with breakfast in hand…and I run. I run away from the world and I think. I put my IPOD in and I explain to the girls that this is “mommy time”. I process my current reality: the divorce, the loss of my home and the loss of the life that I once knew. I think of happy things and I plan for my future. I make mental notes and I think of the things that I am grateful for. My jogs are my time to focus and prepare for whatever the day will throw my way.
Today was different. I normally run at the Cal Poly Campus which has been quite and serene all summer. Today was bustling with incoming freshman and their parents. I ran past moms who were walking and laughing with their daughters…we shared the smile that only mothers can share. I could almost see a tear forming with the smile as the mothers looked at my young daughters…and it was an unspoken message from them to me: time flies quickly…enjoy it.
I ran past parents who were walking their teenagers to their dorms and I sense of sadness washed over me. This time the tear was in my eye. There were actually many tears in my eyes as I ran. The reality of the impending divorce hit me like a ton of bricks. Am I robbing my daughters of this experience? The experience of walking hand in hand with two parents to their dorm rooms on the first day of college. I felt more grief as I ran past these glowing families than I did on the day I decided to leave. Reality set in. My family is broken. Today it hit me. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and I felt guilt like I have never felt before.
I continued running with more momentum and an urgency to be free of the college campus…and the happy families. I ran for about a mile and then slowed down to catch my breath. I remembered the sadness in my marriage for so many years and the sense of despair that I felt. I remembered the tension and the arguments. I remembered the loneliness. I remembered questioning myself daily for four years: how could I be married but completely alone in every sense of the word? I cried and I allowed myself to feel the loss. I allowed myself to grieve for my failed marriage but I also let go of the guilt in that moment.
I stopped running and I sat on a curb. Cars flew by us one after another and my daughter asked me why I was crying…I was crying because I knew that I made the right decision. I know that there will be times when I doubt myself and there will be happy families that cause my chest to tighten and tears to flow…but I know that I am on the right path. I feel sympathy for the loss of my marriage and the vows that I spoke almost 8 years ago. I feel sympathy for my daughters and the loss of their family. I feel sympathy but i know in my heart that I made the right decision…and that we will be ok.
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.