Divorcing a Narcissist: Beware of the Red Flags
As many of you know, I am in the process of writing a book. I pull it out every few days and jot down bits and pieces of my story. I recently bought a voice recorder for those rare opportunities of ‘alone time’ when I am driving. I’ve had to dig deep and remember a lot of things about the beginning stages of dating. The questions that I hear most often from well-meaning people are: what were the red flags? Were there any? How could a smart, confident woman fall prey to this man?
I want to show people how it happened and that no one is immune from these con artists. I want to educate people on these emotional vampires who can turn one’s life upside down. I want to detail my journey, my battle and the light at the end of the tunnel. I want to inspire a woman who is feeling the same way that I did just three short years ago. It isn’t an easy road to travel but being on the other side and in control is the most empowering thing in the world. Being informed and knowledgeable about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is essential to healing and to moving forward.
Looking back, there were so many red flags. Obviously I am older and wiser now. Narcissists are charming and manipulative. Every person, regardless of their upbringing has a weakness. Narcissists are skilled at finding that weak spot and sinking their teeth in. They are skilled at making you doubt yourself.
My biggest red flag came just after a year of dating. I caught him in a huge string of lies and after weeks of not speaking, he gave me a card that said the following:
“You are a beautiful person inside and out. I’m not. I’m devious, manipulative and dishonest. If you need to leave me, I understand. I deserve it. I don’t deserve you but I can change. You are absolutely beautiful. You have more beauty in so many ways that I can’t handle my emotions when your beauty is put on a pedestal for others to see. You are sexy in the way you move, innocent as your smile lights up a room. You’re playful yet shy. Your heart and mind are not tainted with cynicism, distrust or spite. You have a heart of gold.”
Even with a huge string of lies on the table and a card that spoke the truest words to ever leave his mouth, I stayed. I still wanted to believe the fairytale that he had handed me. I wanted to believe that he could change.
He knew how to play the game: he knew how to play me.
What were the red flags that you saw while dating?
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.