Monthly Archives: November 2014

Tina Swithin – Divorcing a Narcissist: Visitation Revoked Completely

Tina Swithin has forged a career from her family court experiences.  Great inspiration, resources, and entertaining insight on surviving family court and dealing with a narcissist … and, current family court officials haven’t held her publicity against her in any way (see Judge’s quip below 🙂  Justice at last!  Good for her, her girls, her new family and her career!

Tina Swithin – Divorcing a Narcissist: Visitation Revoked Completely:

Five years and eight months.

That is how long the girls and I have endured the chaos caused by an individual with a Cluster B personality disorder. In the beginning, I latched onto the first explanation that was thrown my way by a therapist. That term was “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” (NPD) and it made sense at the time. As time has gone on and I’ve learned more, I actually believe Seth’s issues run much deeper than NPD. I have heard all the terms over the years and all from very credible people – psychopath. NPD, Dark Triad and Sociopath. He’s been heavily labeled.

Our supervised visits came to a screeching halt earlier this month (after one single visit on the heels of a 15-month long Seth imposed hiatus) when the Commissioner suspended them. He suspended them based on an ex parte hearing I put on calendar. That single one-hour visit caused a tremendous amount of anxiety in the children. Nightmares resurfaced and other anxiety-related issues. These issues were noted by myself, my husband and by the girl’s therapist. I knew that I could just accept the visits knowing that at least the girls were physically safe with a professional supervisor OR I could take a risk and put this back in front of the court with the hopes that they would listen. I am thankful that I took that gamble and filed the ex parte.

Today was the hearing to discuss my ex parte request.

I was incredibly nervous this morning. I had enjoyed a month of peace since the ex parte hearing and I was not ready to step back onto the rollercoaster ride. “Not ready” was a vast understatement….I wanted to run from the courthouse. I nervously watched the hallway waiting for Seth’s arrival. Minor’s Counsel arrived and entered the courtroom.  Within minutes, the courtroom was open to the public and we entered but Seth and his attorney were no where to be seen. After the Commissioner began calling cases, he mentioned that Seth’s attorney, Mr. Slaromon, had called in and was running late. No mention of Seth and I was secretly praying that he didn’t show up.

Seth’s slimy attorney finally arrived and our case was called forward. I took my seat and Mr. Slaromon sat to my left. Minor’s counsel sat to my right. The Commissioner started proceedings and appeared frustrated. He started off by asking why Seth should even be given visits. He went on to say that he exhibits sociopathic behavior. I was in shock. Everything felt like a blur in that moment. I thought I was going in to establish a reunification plan because as we all know, the court’s goal is to reunite families. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from the Commissioner. I didn’t know that revoking his visits was even an option. I knew better than to be that bold in court because you run the risk of being seen as overly dramatic. Hearing that the Commissioner would even consider stripping Seth of visits left me scrambling for a new strategy…the statement that I had carefully prepared was now out the window.

Next, Minor’s Counsel was given the floor. He discussed his communication with the girls’ therapist and relayed an incident that happened last night in therapy. As the therapist brought up the topic of Seth and potential visits, she peed her pants. It is one thing for me to report things like this but another for my daughter to pee her pants in a therapist’s office at the mere mention of her father. For those who aren’t familiar, this is common in children who have experienced early childhood abuse or trauma. My divorce from Seth began when Sarah was only two years old and she was forced into overnight visits from 2009-2011. A lot of emotional abuse occurred in that two year period of time. I still have a difficult time reflecting on those days because they were so small and so innocent.Minor’s Counsel continued to discuss the past 16 months – that Seth had many opportunities to visit the girls and that I had gone above and beyond to communicate with him to no avail. Minor’s counsel went to bat for my daughters and actually did an excellent job covering everything I had planned to say.

Next, the Commissioner gave me the floor to state my case. I acknowledged that I agreed with his position (removing visits completely) and went on to describe the past 16-months. I described two little girls who were thriving and then I described what the past month had been like: nightmares, anxiety, potty accidents and even missing school due to the stress. I described the phone calls – sometimes intoxicated, bizarre demeanor and even discussing inappropriate things such as child support and that it “wasn’t his fault” that he couldn’t visit. The calls made the girls uncomfortable and I acknowledged that they had been refusing calls since April of 2014. I then reminded the court of the recent police report (Seth had attacked a woman) during our 3111 investigation. I reminded the court that this was the 5th woman to come forward since our divorce began.

The Commissioner and Minor’s Counsel bantered back and forth and the word, “Sociopath” was mentioned again by the Commissioner. I sat and watched with wide eyes and a hopeful heart. Some portions of the bantering are a blur because I decided to pray. When Seth’s attorney began to talk, I prayed harder. I remember him blaming our issues on the fighting between Seth and I. I just shook my head as I watched his attorney in action. He then went on to blame me. He told the Commissioner that I had created a blog, books and a career due to this battle and alluded that the continuing conflict was my doing. The Commissioner’s response: “I know she has a blog and I know she’s written a book. I haven’t read either. Seth is sure supplying her with a lot of material to use.”

I just stared at his attorney. How can he sleep at night knowing who Seth is? How does he drive three hours to represent a person like Seth? How?

The Commissioner brought up what plan we propose and the bantering continued. Seth’s attorney recommended weekly visits. Minor’s counsel recommended minimal visits with Seth ordered to meet with the girl’s therapist. The Commissioner said that he had a dilemma: “In the court system, parents have rights but…children also have rights.”

Before I could even blink, the Commissioner said the following:

“There will be no more visits. There will be no more phone calls. Communication between Seth and the girls is restricted to letters only. We all know that he will probably still try to call so Ms. Swithin has permission to record any of his calls.”

I raised my hand slightly and he nodded at me. “Can I ask that all letters go through the girl’s therapist,” I asked? “Yes, all letters are to go through the girls’ therapist,” he answered.

I thanked him and I walked out of the courtroom. I felt like I was going to faint. I sat down. I shed a few tears and then Glenn and I drove home in shock. I have been trying to process this all night. No visits. No calls. No review date. This is it. This is peace for my daughters. This is peace for my family.

Peace.

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PA IS about the children – see following article:

By Keith Marsolek, CEO & Founder at Parental Alienation World Wide Support Group Public Page, CEO & Founder at Parents Against Alienation and CEO & Founder at Fathers Against Parental Alienation:

People often times get PA confused as the name might imply it is some regards or fashion something to do with adults and parents, when this could be as far from the truth as it gets. You see, PA is really not about adults or parents at all. Its really all about the children. The price tag that has been placed on their being. It is the systematic and deliberate psychological war that they are being used for. It is the intentional mental abuse they are made to endure for years, decades and sometimes lifelong.
We as adults whom are merely bystanders to this new cloacked type of abusive behaviour and who fall victim by our mere emotional ineptness to deal or handle it. We often loose sight of whom this injures the most whom are the children. I never felt as if I was being victimized by this phenomenon we now understand as PA. I guess I felt more confusion or disalutioned that this kind of behavior would come from a person that not only did I love for many years and have children and a family with but that they have done this and continue to do with those children that they feverishly claim to love as well. Seeing how they feel that in some way they hurt me as much as they feel hurt by the rejection of the relationship when in fact they do not hurt me at all.
So I have educated myself and now know and fully understand that PA really isnt about me or my possible emotional response to a misguided adult psychological and behavioral issue. It is soley directed at the children and in doing so I am sort to speak a bystander that only gets bits and pieces. The children end up taking the full brunt of the abuse and psychological warfare heaved upon their shoulders. This is whom we must concentrate our educational and awareness efforts directly to. People say we should not involve children in the affairs of adults. Maybe its time we rethink this stragedy when it come to the subject and matters regarding PA. After all, it is our children on the front lines of this war against them. Let us as adults give them the necessary psychological tools to fight a war they never asked to be in, in the first place.

URGENT NOTICE ** A CALL TO ACTION NOVEMBER 2014 STATE GUARDIAN AD LITEM BOARD MEETING

It is great news, very encouraging, that these review and oversight boards and meetings are occurring, now, finally, after so many have worked so selflessly, diligently, to advocate for children, parents, families. Exposing, sharing stories, and uniting has been very effective, will continue to be effective, and has been a long time coming. Thank you for all of your hard work.

Stories of hope: Reuniting children after alienation

Karen Woodall

Following one of my reader’s requests for case studies of work that I have done with children who have reunited with a parent after alienation, this is a short collection of stories from my case book. Publishing case stories is not straight forward when one is working with families affected by alienation, as their privacy is vital and I am bound by confidentiality in both my work in the court process and my role as a therapist. Following good practice therefore, I must heavily disguise the identity of the families and their children with whom I have worked. I cannot identify anything within the case stories that could lead to anyone recognising themselves or others and I cannot give details of any cases within the court process that could lead to the same. What I can do is occasionally publish stories which are written by parents themselves and I can…

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