Divorcing a Narcissist (One Mom’s Battle)


Our Mission:

The mission of 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 in the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children. The second portion of the OMB mission is to provide support and education for the parents who are dedicated to protecting their child(ren) from a personality disordered individual.

What is a Cluster B Personality Disorder?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is used by clinicians for the diagnosis of mental disorders. The Cluster B category contains four distinct personality disorders: Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD), Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) however, HPD is not typically seen as part of the equation in high-conflict custody battles. When we hear of people with a high-conflict divorce or custody case, this usually involves one or more of: NPD, APD, and BPD. Borderline Personality Disorder is much more common with females than with males, Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder, is much more common in males than in females. With each of these three Cluster B disorders, there is a pronounced lack of empathy, repeated testing of laws, rules, and personal boundaries, much manipulation to meet their own needs which can fluctuate with their mood states, and sometimes fraud and other criminal activities. There is often high comorbidity with substance abuse and other forms of mental disorders.

The History:

In 2011, One Mom’s Battle (OMB) began with one mother, Tina Swithin, navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the family court system while acting as her own attorney. Tina’s personal battle began two years prior to the inception of her blog and during this time, she felt isolated and alone, never imagining that others were also experiencing the same trials and tribulations. Her blog, titled, One Mom’s Battle, was created to allow friends and family members to follow her journey. Thankfully, Tina’s battle came to an end in the fall of 2014 when her ex-husband was stripped of all visits and contact with their children based largely on emotional abuse. Tina has since dedicated her life to assisting others who are following in her footsteps.

OMB may have started with just one mom but it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth and is a primary resource for parents around the world. OMB is helping to make systematic changes in the family court system through educational outreach. The team at OMB is gender inclusive, welcoming men just as much as women in their battles with Cluster B individuals. Our focus is firmly upon protecting CHILDREN, not protecting mothers or fathers. While this began as one mother’s battle, it has turned into a village of education, love and support. We are all in this battle together. Join our Facebook community which is over 30,000 OMB’ers strong.


“Like” One Mom’s Battle on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.

Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.


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  1. Thank you for commenting on my blog (myattemptbga.blogspot.com). I am finding your to be very inspiring! Thanks again!

  2. GREAT GREAT blog Tina, you are amazing and strong. I found your blog last night and have read your whole story, you are such an inspiration. 🙂

    I left my ex-husband in 2010, and while we did not have children together, I can find a lot of parallels in our experiences…at times it was like I was reading my own story.

    Thank you for having the strength to blog about this, I am so confident that you will help many others.

  3. Such inspiration through your blog! Love it. I’ve tagged you in my own blog.

  4. Danielle,

    Thank you! May I ask where you came across my blog?

    It’s amazing to me how many women are in our shoes. Until I could put a title to the issue (narcissism), I felt so alone because I didn’t understand it. It’s not easy to this day however, at least it makes more sense to me now.

  5. A friend mentioned the blog in passing to another friend who is currently beginning to divorce her narcissistic husband. I got to ready and from the first sentence it sounded like my divorce to a T (my x has a son from a previous marriage and it also describes from the other side how he dealt with his previous ex-wife…oh why didn’t I know these red flags…).

    It took a protection order (which he of course violated) to get him to leave me alone…I’m lucky to live in the City of Seattle, they have a pretty no nonsense approach to DV.

  6. Hi, I am a new FB and blog follower from bloggy moms 🙂 I admire your strength and for finding healthy ways to deal with stressful situations in life, such as writing. Writing is one of my outlets as well, and although I blog about beauty, etc., it’s one of the ways I get through my days. If you write about what you know or what you care about it can be tremendously healing or mood boosting. Props to you and I look forward to reading more.
    -Kristin @ meetmeonthebrightside.blogspot.com

  7. Kristin- thank you! I agree. I actually blog for work (I work for an advertising agency) but have never really blogged about personal things until recently. It is so healing 🙂 I look forward to reading your blog also! Thanks for following 😉

  8. Yes! I went through the same hell here in Canada, more women need to share their stories of having to go through a court system’s abuse! Good on you, keep on inspiring <3 Linking you from my blog pronto <3

  9. I’m at the early stages of separation, although I emotionally checked out of my marriage almost a year ago. My STBX is a narcissistic sociopath; struggles with addictive tendencies surrounding alcohol and pornography. We have a 15.5 month old son. I got my STBX to agree to a temporary custody agreement that states that we share joint legal custody and that I have primary physical custody. I was also granted permission to relocate from VA to MA to be near my family during this difficult time.

    In the 3 months since I left, my STBX has continued my motion for child support twice and refused to file a petition for visitation. I told him 11 times in writing that I would not do visitation without a court ordered visitation agreement or schedule put into place. Christmas came, no petition was filed and I stood my ground. Because of that, he is now of course furious with me and has finally filed a petition for visitation. Contested. Even though we’ve hashed out a draft agreement between our attorney’s over the last month for a couple thousand dollars on my end in attorney fees. He is throwing it all out and wants to fight me in court on everything. My attorney told me today that my refusal to do informal visitation over the holiday’s has “opened a can of worms”, but I know that as soon as I did anything he didn’t agree to the same thing would have happened.

    Basically, I’m scared for the future battles, but also determined. I very much want my little boy to build a positive relationship with his father, but I also want his emotional and mental well-being to be safe-guarded utmost and foremost. I fear that standing up for my innocent child to protect him will paint me as a father-hating Mom; and I’m not. I am even getting the feeling from my attorney that she isn’t really listening to me and doesn’t see my STBX for what he really is just yet. I may have to find someone more aggressive and experienced with a narcissistic non-custodial parent and the never-ending drama they inflict in their desperate attempt to have control over the custodial parent. I am finding so much comfort in reading your blog! Might stay up all night to catch up with your story!!

  10. Don’t give up— ever, ever, ever. Be diligent: ask for a parenting evaluation, psych eval, minor’s council, etc.

    I faced the exact same battle– I was fearful to stand my ground on many occasions because I didn’t want to be viewed as unreasonable or anti-father’s rights, etc. It is a frustrating process. If your attorney isn’t educated on narcissism, show her the articles that are posted in my blog from the experts. Here is it: http://onemomsbattle.com/2011/11/08/narcissism/

    It took so long for the Judge to finally see him for who he is. I think that he was summing it up to a high-conflict divorce for a very long time. Patience and document, document, document.

    You can do this! Huge hugs– T

  11. I just wrote this to my attorney after reading up:

    To my attorney (I obv. used her name here!),

    I just wanted to brief you on a few things and request a telephone conversation for some day next week.

    My ex (or soon-to-be, anyway) is a suspected narcissist. I am not self-diagnosing him — the notion was brought up by a professional therapist in the four months that we went to marriage counseling. My ex will continue to fight every request either directly with me or through attorneys, not respond to e-mails whether brief or long, go MIA for days at a time and not return his own attorney’s phone calls (reported to me by his parents), possibly change attorney’s as often as he can afford and postpone as many court date’s as possible because that is his nature. If it will infuriate me, he will do it. If he can control me any way he can, he will try his hardest to do so. When I e-mail him, he won’t respond because he knows it will get to me. And so on. I’ve dealt with this behavior for 6 years. That’s why my e-mails to him have the tone they do.

    I’m writing this e-mail to you because after our phone conversation earlier, I’ve been distraught and worried as the conflict in this process continues to rise and I feel like I am not being heard completely. I am not a father-hating mother seeking to limit my son’s contact with his father. Contrarily, the fact that my son hasn’t seen his father regularly in almost three months makes me just as upset as all the conflict going on between us as parents. I very much want Cameron to have visitation with his Dad. But, with that said, I want to make sure that my one year-old’s best interests (both emotionally and mentally) are protected. My ex drinks to excess, smokes like a chimney and has very poor parenting skills. He was not very involved with our son when were together and for these reasons, that’s why I am being so aggressive when it comes to establishing visitation with his parents supervising. I am willing to bet money that he would be the type of parent to take Cameron somewhere and not come back for weeks, if at all. He has threatened me numerous times to do just that. There is also a history of drug abuse, pornography addiction and domestic violence.

    My ex didn’t file a petition for visitation purely because he knew that’s what I wanted. He was testing me to see if I would hold my ground because that is what he cares about utmost and foremost over seeing his son. These tactics of his will continue; please be aware. I do not want to communicate with him or his family for the time being via e-mail or phone.

    All of the “agreement” that you’ve seen take place on his end thus far has only been done through persistent communication between myself and his parents causing them to pressure him into making at least some decisions. The agreements have not come easily and I had a feeling it would be short-lived as his parents lost patience with the both of us. All of this is exactly why I so quickly got out of the state of VA. Please acknowledge the predicament I am in right now dealing with a narcissist. I know the courts don’t really care about all these details, but I need to know that my attorney does.

    Thanks. I truly appreciate all of your hard work, your efficiency in getting things done swiftly and your dedication.

  12. Brava! Although I am not a biological mother, I have seen the battle that my boyfriend has gone through-is still going through, trying to do what’s best for his children. Not always fair, beyond frustrating.

  13. Dealing with my ex’s return from across the country 2-3 times a year is the most exhausting thing I’ve ever endured….besides being married to him!

    Every time I read one of your posts I’m sad that I’m reminded of the exact same thing happening to me; the passing of my grandmother was met with “you werent that close were you?” then a refusal to join me and my children at the funeral “I have a lot of work to catch up on.” Or how I was CONSTANTLY being accused of sleeping with every man I’ve ever come into contact with.

    But, I also get a sense of relief knowing I’m not the only one dealing with someone unstable and delusional…trying to parent with him is like trying to parent with… I dont even know what kind of person or thing could be so vindictive, mean, and harmful to my kids in a sad attempt to continue to control and belittle me….and then try to find a way to blame me for it.
    2 days ago I received an email from him after asking him why he didnt return my child at the time we’d agreed upon, and my ex launched into how I’ve lost the priviledge to be able to speak with him (my ex) face to face since I married the man I was cheating on him with, and the very idea of that was ‘laughable’.

    A number of times I’ve wanted to do what you’re doing, start a blog, recount all the crazymaking and poor decsions, all the times i should have known better, etc during the 13 years I was married…but every time I try, its just so overwhelming and exhausting to even think about where to start.
    So, good for you finding a way to sort through all the madness you’ve been through in order to share it with the world. People like me are always grateful to know we aren’t alone.

    I’m remarried to someone who loves me for me, all my weirdness and awesomeness, and i love him more than I ever thought was possible. He is truly my best friend. We are very lucky to have found each other.

    Thanks for doing what you’re doing. We all very much appreciate it.

  14. Your message really touched me. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I originally started this blog as a way to heal– by retelling the story, reliving the story and then closing the chapter. Receiving messages like this is more healing then my initial plan because it helps ME to know that I’m not the only one that rode this crazy roller coaster. Happy New Year and huge hugs to you– T

  15. Des

    Congratulations on such a great post. 🙂 Cheering on you!

    I’m visiting from VB. 🙂

    Best Regards!
    Des of chicsassymom.com

  16. I’m thrilled to hear that you have found love and that real and wonderful men do exist out there somewhere. I’m a single mother of three, two of whom are boys. It is my true goal to raise them well, to be that kind of honorable man this world needs.

  17. They do exist– even when you aren’t looking. 🙂 Thank you for your comment and cheers to you, single mamma!

  18. Heather

    Thank you so much! I just discovered your blog and it gives me (badly) needed hope.

    I’m not sure my husband qualifies as a full-blown toxic narcissist, but he has several of the traits at fairly disturbing levels. (Example: He actually got angry at me for not being sympathetic when he started having relationship problems with his girlfriend with whom he was cheating on me.)

    It’s taken me months, several loving mutual friends, two marriage counselors, additional mental health professionals (my parents and sister among them), and our 5 year old’s night terrors to realize just how unhealthy our relationship had become, before i could let go of the hope we could repair our relationship.

    Thank you for having the courage to publicize your experiences. I know I can’t be the only person to stumble across your situation who really needed to see they are not alone.

  19. (((Heather))) You can do this! There is light at the end of the tunnel. One foot in front of the other…

  20. Hi Tina, Thank you for doing this blog!! I am in the same situation, and had recently started a blog about coparenting with a narcissist (coparentingwithanarcissist.com), as my way to do as you are – share the story and to focus on the positives in the situation. I haven’t thought of going pro se, as my ex’s aggressive attorney would have me for lunch. Also, we are in circuit court here for family matters, and when we did our 3 day trial (in 2009) -even with admitting to physically hitting and pushing me- the judge granted my ex his exact visitation schedule. My attorney, who specializes in domestic abuse, was shocked as there were many times that my ex made references that this battle was about getting even with me and not about the kids. My faith keeps my strong, and I believe that there will one day be a time when my children & I are free from this situation. In the meantime, we are dealing with what the cards dealt us and documenting everything so that when the situation is right – I can go back to court. I have linked to your blog from mine (I hope that’s okay).
    Thank you for the inspiration! All the best, Natalia.

  21. Mia

    Hi Tina,
    This is not meant to cause you further pain. I just came across your blog and find it to be disturbing. Wouldn’t this all be best handled in a private journal and through personal counseling? Do you really think that disparaging your ex is going to help and protect your children? He is their father for God’s sake. I pray for you that you will see the light and close your blog. Do continue to fight for improved Family Court services. That is where you have a noble cause. Airing out your dirty laundry on the Internet, where it will reside forever, is just plain wrong regardless of your truth! I will pray for you and your children.

  22. MJ

    Tina did you see the comment your X wrote on the Huffington Post article?? I got chills when I saw that.

  23. Tina

    I just did. He is using my daughter’s name as his screen name instead of his own 🙁

  24. MJ

    I think his comment itself shows everything you have written here is true, and probly just the tip of the iceburg in terms of the horror youve endured. I couldnt believe it when I saw that. The delusiinal aspects of NPD are scary. Wonder if they really believe their lies or know deep down?

  25. Katie

    Tina – Thank you for sharing your blog. I have spent the past 18 months separating from a narcissist. I saw Christie Brinkley on the Today show and felt like she was describing my X. I was wondering if you had any words of wisdom for me regarding our children not wanting to go with their father? He took me to court for contempt two months ago, I was not found guilty. To date our kids (11 & 12) till will not agree to go with him. His attorney is bound to file contempt and motion to enforce papers. Do I force our kids to go or file a motion to amend and see if the court will let the kids decide? I am so tired of dealing with him and am getting very worn down. Any suggestions?

  26. Kay

    Dear Tina,
    I too am divorcing a narcisist. We have a 3 year old. He does not want to separate, so he is using our child. As “promised” he is trying to get the child away from me and so he is telling the courts that I (not him) have a psychiatric problem. My ex is a very respected person with enourmous political power in my community and I am next to desperate. He even told me he would go as far as bribing and seducing whomever he needs. I am a strong motivated person but the lies and constant stress are just killing me.

  27. Tina

    I am sending you huge hugs– take deep breaths and try to find down time so you can re-group when needed. I do believe that eventually, the truth will prevail however, its a very trying battle in the meantime. Do you have an attorney?

  28. Katie

    Tina – I have been following your blog for a few months now. It seems that all of your posts are very timely with the events I am currently going through with my own X. I have come to the sasme conclusion as yourself, there is a reason I had to go through this and I need to do good from it. I would love to help you change the way the court system views this. I live in Midcoast Maine and plan to continue following your blog. Anything I can do to assist you in yourquest, please reach out. Thank you for all you are doing, it makes me feel like I am not alone and if others can work though this, so can I.

  29. Stephanie

    Tina – I found your blog on the recommendation of my X’s sister. I have been in a constant battle with my X since I left him 4 years ago. Everything I read here is what I have been living with during the past 20 years. We have 2 wonderful children that he has done nothing but emotionally, mentally and verbally abused since I left. My son is now 18 and has “aged” out of having to visit his father. My daughter, on the other hand is only 15. In May, she decided she had had enough and we filed papers to terminate his visitation rights. We went to trial yesterday and the Judge saw right through his game and lies. He granted our request and my daughter is no longer going to be forced to visit him. I’m sure there will be some sort of retaliation towards me, but I guess we will just have to see. I had no idea there were so many women out there dealing with similar situations. Thank you for your blog.

  30. Tina

    Stephanie- I am glad to connect with you and I am thankful to hear that a Judge granted your daughter’s wishes. Education is instrumental in healing– hope you are able to learn as you continue on your journey!

  31. Rachael

    I stumbled across your blog on accident just starting my search on this disorder and it is eye opening what has been going on for a long time. But reading your blog is like reading my own story. its absolutely crazy and ive had the same family court issues. It is indeed a very flawed system that I hope to as well make a difference in. I am only 6 months into this journey but going back to court very soon and im so nervous. Could we ever email and I could ask you some questions about your journey since youve had longer experience? Thanks for your blog! I hope your upcoming court hearing goes well!

  32. Even here, the standards are abmissmally low. It is sad, but somehow were trying to work within this crazy system. Ugh!

  33. This is so incredible to read all of the comments and support happening here. Thank you for all of the support and ESPECIALLY the information! <3

  34. Mere

    A friend just directed me to your blog. It took me half a post to realize that your ex and mine and basically the same person!!
    Thank you for sharing your story. I can’t wait to read past and future entries. Hopefully I can find some advice and perhaps even some hope here.

  35. Marie

    I was very thankful to find your blog & tools. I am in hopes of finding a professional in my area who TRULY understand NPD. I near ST LOUIS. Since 2006 I have been the sole legal custodian of my two young sons- during this time they have been diagnoisis with Turrets, OCD, ADHD. Their father has filed for custody multiple times in 6 years. He infact has even filed another modification before a judgement is issued for the last trial. I have continued to provide the best medical, psychological, therapeutic and educational services for the children & myself I can. The NPD is draining- physically, emotionally and financially draining. It is my hope is that through your blog I might find a fellow BPD survivor, colleague/referral for a legal or therapeutic professional in my area who has experience with an NPD in litigation. The NPD is skillfull in manipulation, twisting events, lying, convincingly pretends to be a victim of “parent alienation” but yet refuses to attend any doctors appointments, school events, kiddos’ social events- anything outside the NPDs world isn’t acknowledged- and he refuses to pay the 50% their medical bills & medication exploiting my depleted fiances. I’ve spent all I have defending and now I can no longer afford legal fees… I represented myself with success for over a year but he has found a new attorney who is willing to participate in what lawyers call “dirty play” (like not send me notices of subpoenas that he sends). My NPD recently said to me “I will take, steal, win custody” and I believe he will stop at nothing and use our children. Our judge doesn’t believe in using a GAL and in fact released the GAL the previous judge appointed. The GAL described the NPD as “a child king”.
    Any information or leads would be greatly appreciated from other readers.
    Please know that your blog is so important to others who have experienced the same.
    Thank you for your courage to share.

  36. Tina

    Thank you for sharing your story– I will keep you in my positive thoughts and prayers. I hope that you are able to find the connections that you need! -Tina <3

  37. Suzie

    Hang in there Tina. I’m so proud of what you are doing. An inspiration. I gave up my fight with my ex. I don’t have the strength to deal with him, as I’ve developed anxiety since I left him. My son is now the source of his bullying, (he’s 11), and I want to do something…but I don’t really think I can.
    Just yesterday, my son started bawling when it was time for his Dad to pick him up. He didn’t want to go. I tried to have a civil convo with his father, who attempted to turn it around on me..making me the problem. That I am somehow trying to turn the children against him. (I’m happily remarried, work full time, working on University courses to get my BA, have 4 step children besides my own 2,and quote frankly don’t have time to ‘conspire’ against him). I generally try to NOT argue with him, because everyone here knows that arguing with a Narcissist is counterproductive…but finally got the kahuna’s to stand up to him. I plain out asked him what was arong with him? Why didn’t our son want to be with him? Then said I understand that you are upset. I would be too if one of my children didn’t want to come to my house. (I know that you need to read between the lines with a Narcissist. They often blow up about one thing when its really about something else). I managed to stop him dead in his tracks.
    Unlike Seth, Tina, Mine is TRYING to behave for his kids. There is no physical abuse…just mental (impossible to prove)..and its only to our son. Our daughter is the apple of his eye.
    He compromised and let our son stay for an extra 3 hours. My son felt like he ‘won’ something, and I managed to spend 3 hours with him…loving him, comforting him, hanging out with him..and sent him off hoping my shield of armour would be enough to protect him for a few days until he returns…

  38. Jewel

    Thank you for your blog. I feel so exhausted sometimes dealing with my child’s father. The worst part is the guilt of knowing I got out but yet because of the family court laws our child still has to suffer unsupervised visits. I cannot tell you how many times I have been to court and motions have been filed. I keep fighting and don’t show fear but it is all so unfair. How can the system think its ok to trust a child to a man that has committed domestic violence? Until he physically hurts our child and it can be proven? NPDs are pretty carefule not to leave evidence or witnesses. I really think the system is biased towards men. In other countries there is no question that a young child goes to the mother, if a man doesn’t pay child support he looses rights, if a man is a batterer he looses rights. Here women are treated by the police and courts as if we are liars and crazy

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