Narcissism: Seth’s Blueprint Life

One Sunday morning, we were at a local Starbucks Coffee Shop where Seth spent much of his time.  There was an older gentleman there that particular morning who my X frequently conversed with over coffee.

The gentleman said to me, “You have to make him stop focusing on this ‘blueprint’ life that he has in his head.  That’s no way to live“.  It left me thinking — he did have a blueprint life and deviating from it never went well.  Seth wasn’t able to “roll with the punches” if something went against his plan; he would become angry and bitter.  It was never his fault– there was always someone else to blame.

Becoming parents wasn’t part of our original plan.  It didn’t fit into his blueprint life.  I was okay with that because I didn’t have raging maternal instincts. I remember driving through town one afternoon and feeling extremely car sick which wasn’t normal for me.  I had a gut feeling that I could be pregnant.  I went and bought a test but I didn’t dare tell him.  I wouldn’t be able to form the sentence while looking him in the eyes because I knew how angry he would be.

I took the test in our master bathroom and it didn’t take 2 minutes…or 3 minutes…or whatever the box claimed it would take.  It took 5 seconds flat.  Positive.  It was positive.  I was pregnant.  I stood there looking at the test.  I took another test.  Pregnant.

A rush of emotions filled my head and body.  I couldn’t imagine telling him this news.  How was I going to tell him that I was pregnant?  This wasn’t part of the blueprint.  This wasn’t what he wanted.  I walked out of the bathroom and I was crying.  I wanted him to grab me and hold me.  I wanted to hear that it was okay and that everything was going to be fine.

I wanted him to say, “I love you, Tina! Everything will be okay!”.

Seth didn’t do any of those things.  He stared at me for what felt like eternity.  He had “the look” that scared me– the quiet, hidden rage.  He turned and walked out of our bedroom.  He walked down the stairs and out the door without saying a single word to me.  He was gone before I could stop him.

I got into my car and I was hysterical.  I started driving but I didn’t know where I was going.  I called my aunt and she calmed me down.  She told me all of the things that I needed to hear from my husband.  She told me that she loved me and that everything was going to be okay.  I quietly started my drive back home and I was emotionally drained.  I went home to an empty house and I stayed alone in an empty house for the rest of the day.

Seth went on a run– a very long run.  He went on a thirteen mile run because that’s how he copes with things when the blueprint goes awry.  He re-appeared that evening and barely spoke to me.  Things were quiet and uncomfortable for days.  After about a week of silence, he took me to dinner and handed me a fancy, expensive video camera.  That was his second way to cope– he spent money.  As he handed me the video camera, he muttered, “I guess you will need this now”.

I went through my pregnancy alone.  I joined an online pregnancy forum and I formed friendships with a group of women who were all pregnant.  They were my support system for nine months.  I sat back and I read the stories of how excited their husbands were.  I watched in quiet envy as they told stories of going in together to hear the heartbeat or to have an ultrasound.  I couldn’t reach out to our friends because I didn’t have real friendships– we lived a facade.  In the local community, we were the glowing parents-to-be and he played that role so well.

In public, Seth was so excited to be a dad.  In private, there was silence and a lot of it.  I screwed up his blueprint life.


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.




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  1. I swear, everytime I read something you write I just get chills. I remember thinking the exact same thing. We would pretend to the outside world. And we were so good at it. We’d fight all the way to a party, screaming at eachother in the car where no one could hear. Then, when we’d arrive, we’d get out, grab hands, and walk inside. The perfect couple. When I was pregnant, he was never home. I was completely alone. But I didn’t dare tell anyone. NO one would have believed it either because he made such a show of it in public. He was the doting father to be. To everyone who didn’t know the truth.

  2. OMG, yes, I too can relate! One of X’s problems is that he cannot handle it when things don’t work out the way he thinks they will. If I brought up the possibility of a Plan B, he would say I’m being negative. And yes, it was always someone else’s fault when things went wrong. It seems fitting that your x would literally try to run away from his problems!
    Isn’t it oh-so-nice to not be living with that every day!

  3. abugenig– There were so many times that I felt so alone. I wish that I would have started blogging (honestly) back then. A connection with someone else in the same boat would have been amazing back then 🙂

    April- It is so nice to be away from that world. Oh-so-nice! 🙂

  4. Oh, I so wanna give a hug to the Tina in the post.

    I am going through a divorce and can relate very well to your experiences. Your ex sounds to be a reflection of mine.

  5. Anna Thompson

    WOW. I’m just still stunned from how similar my story is—how my ex did not want our kids, but made an INCREDIBLE show of …the happy expectant father (??) in public, and yes, the silence, oh wow, so many, many similarities.

    And the words, “blueprint”! That’s the Thing, the concept I’ve been trying to put a word or phrase around. And I (not purposefully in any way–I knew better than that!) messed up his blueprint…bigtime. It sometimes makes me wonder how a ‘wife’ was a part of The Blueprint to begin with, but once I was in the marriage, wow, I did somehow did everything wrong.

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