by: Tina Swithin
During the first two years of my hellish divorce, I would cringe at the sight of my soon-to-be ex-husband’s name in my email inbox. An email from Seth usually contained one piece of relevant information related to our children and then it quickly shifted into a rambling manifesto of personal attacks which were designed to hit me straight in the heart. When a person is attacked, it is our natural instinct to want to defend ourselves especially if the attacks are based upon lies.
One of the most important survival tips that I’ve learned during my four years in divorce court with a narcissist is to know my truths. Anyone who has dealt with a narcissist or other high-conflict personality knows that they are the masters of projection. They love to project their own negative truths onto their victim. I have been called manipulative, dishonest, uneducated and vindictive. While I know that these are not my “truths”, I have worried on occasion that the court will be manipulated into believing these things from my ex-husband.
Dealing with this type of situation can put a person on the defense and it brings forth a wide array of emotions. It is very important to build your “foundation” from rock—the rock that comes from knowing what is the truth and what are lies about you. Prepare a “truth” and “lies” list and absorb both lists to your core (mind, body, and spirit). If through this process, you find some truths that hurt then put them on your list of “things to work on” and re-write the truth into a positive.
- Write down your truths
One of Seth’s favorite pastimes is to remind me that I do not have a college degree. He has reminded me of this by text messages, emails and in person. This has been Seth’s way to put me down through our marriage in passive aggressive ways and then during our divorce through verbal or written assaults. The truth is: I do not have a college degree.
- Rewrite negative truths into positive ones
My life experiences as a business owner began at the young age of 18 years old and taught me more than I could have learned with a four-year education. I have learned to value the education and knowledge that I have received from outside of the confines of a classroom. The experience that I have learned through life experiences, reading, seminars, mistakes, observations and the wisdom shared by others is priceless and I wouldn’t trade it for a piece of paper on the wall. The world is full of educated idiots and I am not one of them.
- Find positive quotes or manta to remind yourself of your truths
“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.” - Carl R. Rogers
“We are students of words: we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Knowing yourself and your truths are imperative during the divorce process with someone who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In the beginning of this process I felt the need to defend myself against each accusation or attacking email that entered my inbox. Because I have thoroughly educated myself on this disorder I have a different approach now. I will skim the email for the relevant information and bypass the attacks. How am I able to do this? My foundation is built on my truths.
Tina Swithin is the Author of “Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and the popular blog, “One Mom’s Battle”. Tina is also the newest contributor to the Huffington Post and enjoys helping women (and men) to feel empowered when going through a high-conflict divorce. Her Facebook page has become a source of education and camaraderie for those going through a divorce with a narcissist. Her ultimate dream is to create a non-profit agency with the goal of educating and bringing change to the Family Court System. Tina resides in sunny California with her fiancé, two daughters and three-legged tortoise named, “Oliver” You can follow Tina on Twitter @onemomsbattle .