THE LEMONADE CLUB (TLC)
In the beginning of my divorce from a narcissist, I felt incredibly alone. I had been stripped of all of the things that once mattered to me – my home, my car, my business and all of my material possessions. No one around me could comprehend the things I was telling them. When I tried to explain my divorce and custody battle, two things happened:
- I became mute because I was unable to articulate that I, like Alice, had fallen down a rabbit hole into a place called Wonderland. While Alice was thrust into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures, I found myself in a world with similar creatures however; the players in my story lived in a world known as the Family Court System which was equally, if not more bizarre.
- I felt like I was speaking a language that no one could understand. People would tilt their head sideways, giving me the all-to-familiar blank stare and then they would say the words that cut through my heart like a dagger: “Why can’t you two just get along for the sake of the children?”
Two years into the biggest battle of my life, I decided to start a blog to document my journey
through a custody battle with someone who suffers from a Cluster B personality disorder. I had no idea that each keystroke on my little laptop was bringing me one step closer to the universe answering my reoccurring, desperate plea: “Please, God. Help me. I am alone and I am terrified.” Within weeks, I was watching the Today Show. Thank you, Universe. I never watch television but something prompted me to flip on the TV in March of 2012. Matt Lauer was interviewing Christie Brinkley and he subsequently criticized her role in a custody battle with malignant narcissist, Peter Cook. Christie, while choking back tears muttered a series of words that would change my life forever: “Google, „Divorcing a Narcissist.’” I was no longer alone and in fact, thousands of people began Googling those three little words and connecting with my blog. The very next day, Christie Brinkley personally recommended my blog to her 19,000 followers and within weeks I was in Los Angeles meeting with her in person. I had no idea that so many people were experiencing the same thing. I was no longer alone. These people didn’t tilt their heads in amazement as I spoke. They understood. These were my people. Through this experience, I’ve connected with men and women across the world who had previously suffered in silence. We began to support, encourage and empower one another. Together, we took truckloads of lemons and we whipped lemonade, lemon pastries, lemon meringue and even lemon drops!
WHAT IS THE LEMONADE CLUB
If you’ve been a part of the One Mom’s Battle blog or Facebook page, you are aware of the healing and sense of camaraderie that has come to fruition over the past few years. In the beginning, it was easy for me to follow each person’s battle. I could remember the names and stories of each member and sometimes even their children’s names! I noted their upcoming court dates on my calendar which allowed me to send prayers, positive thoughts and loads of pixie dust to each person as they entered the battlefield (aka Family Court). Currently, there are around 20,000 members on our Facebook page and around 45,000 visits to One Mom’s Battle blog (www.onemomsbattle.com) on a monthly basis. The blog has had over ONE MILLION views to date!
The growth of the group is bittersweet to me in many ways. On one hand, it saddens me greatly to know that there are so many people experiencing the same issues. On the other hand, I sit in amazement while watching the village that has been formed and the fact that there are One Mom’s Battle chapters popping up all over the world. As the group grows, it becomes harder for me to follow individual stories and it becomes impossible for me to keep up with the messages, emails and pleas for help. There are also issues when it comes to privacy and obviously, privacy is a huge concern when it comes to divorce proceedings. While I have been very open with my story, there are still things that I haven’t been able to share due to court proceedings.
The Lemonade Club is a place where we can come together and support one another. It is a place where we can speak openly about our struggles and the issues that we are facing. There is a forum with multiple topics designed to motivate, inspire, share and support one another as we face the biggest battle of our lives. Each member will be able to create a profile which is only visible to TLC members. There will be a place that we can all share articles, tips and information. For those who are fans of the patent-pending Narc Decoder, feel free to upload your emails for Narc Decoding and group input.
THE LEMONADE CLUB RULES
My vision for this group involves personal growth in a safe environment. I am amazed at the healing that has taken place at One Mom’s Battle however, there have always been limits. Page members aren’t able to open up and be truly vulnerable for fear of being exposed online or worse, in court. I have sat back and tried to figure out a way to change that and The Lemonade Club was born. The Lemonade Club is your worldwide network of individuals who, like you, are committed to growing, learning, sharing and inspiring others. In any community, there is a need for rules.
Kindness Policy: TLC is a place where we can be real with each other. We can gently remind each other if we sense that someone is falling into the familiar cycle of engagement and through that, we can help each other learn, grow and set boundaries. With that said, I strongly believethat advice and criticism can both be delivered in a tactful, respectful way. I ask that you are honest in your responses but that you do so in a considerate and compassionate manner. In support groups, it is common to hear members say things like, “If you think THAT‟S bad, you should hear what MY ex did.” It is critical that we listen to each other and respond with empathy and support. Let’s agree to work together without trying to prove that our situation is more difficult than someone else’s journey. We have a zero tolerance policy for bullying, drama, gossip or toxic energy. TLC is a place to receive support during your custody battle whether you are in pro se or represented by an attorney.
Give and Take Policy: In support groups and in the great big outside world, there are people who take, take and take. To have a truly successful and healthy group, we’d like to place an emphasis on giving as much (or more) as you are taking. There will be days when you are beaten down and unable to give – that is to be expected. Aim for balance when giving and taking. We are all in this together and our need for support which will fluctuate depending on the day and the situation.
No Sales: TLC is a pitch, solicitation and sales-free environment. Violation will result in immediate removal and termination of membership.
Final Words: What happens in TLC stays in TLC. Each member will be asked to sign a confidentiality policy within their first month of their membership. PLEASE don’t be shy. The more you engage with other members, the more you will get out of your experience. My goal is to bring in members who have a genuine desire to connect and support one another. I will strive to make TLC as fair and supportive as possible, but it’s not possible to make everyone happy all the time. If you are upset with the actions of an administrator or a member, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to respond in a timely fashion.
MEMBERSHIP FEES AND FINAL NOTES
The membership fees are set at $25 per month. Memberships are on an at-will basis – either party (Tina Swithin, LLC or TLC Member) can cancel membership at any time. Over the next few months, we will be unveiling a mobile app (very exciting!) which will make connecting with the group even easier! I will keep you posted on the progress of TLC’s Mobile App!
With love, Tina Swithin, Founder