One Mom’s Battle: Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Divorce



I am a single mom and I’ve spent the past 3 years representing myself (in pro se) in a horrific custody battle.

I am not a doctor however, I strongly believe that my X husband suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Learning about this personality disorder has helped me to cope with my situation and it has helped me to stay two steps ahead at all times.  Knowledge is power.

This is a story about not giving up.  This is a lesson about believing in yourself and what you can accomplish even when the odds (and the court system) are against you.  It’s a mothers journey through the California Family Court System and the frustrations that came as a result of the system.  I have felt defeated on so many occasions but I didn’t give up even when the light at the end of the tunnel was barely flickering.  Through this battle, I have fought harder than I’ve ever fought in my life.  I am the person who hates conflict.  I had to leave my comfort zone and risk people not liking me.

I am pleased to announce that One Mom’s Battle was featured in the Huffington Post: What Smart Women Do After Divorce by Alison Patton, esq in March 2012.

How to navigate through One Mom’s Battle:

  • The Red Flags in the Beginning = dating and early years (2000-2005).
  • My Pregnancies and Newborns = when things started to change (2005-2007).
  • The End of Our Marriage (2009).
  • Fighting for My Children = the battles, the damage and the court process (2009-2011).
  • Fighting for My Children: the battle continues (2012).
This is not an “anti-fathers rights blog”.  My father raised me and I understand the significant role a father plays in his child’s life.  I am 100% supportive of any parent who puts their children’s needs first– regardless of gender.  This isn’t about Mother’s Rights nor is it about Father’s Rights.  It’s about the Children’s right to be happy, safe and loved.
It’s also a personal mission to educate the public and the Family Court System about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.    In Love, Tina ❤

30 responses »

  1. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  2. 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 @

    • 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 😉

  3. 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 ❤ Linking you from my blog pronto ❤

  4. 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!!

    • 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:

      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

      • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    • 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 (, 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.

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