ISO mediator to help me separate from narcissistic partner

The reviews for mediators are old, so I’m posting to see if anyone has a good recommendation for a mediator who can help me separate from my partner who displays many covert narcissistic patterns. We are not married, so “community property” doesn’t necessarily apply, but we own our home, car, joint bank accounts, and have young children. I don’t know what I am legally required to provide (financially) since I am the sole financial provider and have been for close to a decade. My partner has not carried anywhere close to the level of responsibilities that would be expected of a SAHP (ie. I have always worked from home and even though my partner is here, I have continued to shoulder many, if not the majority of the Stay-At-Home responsibilities, such as all the laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, family appointments [med, dental, etc.], childcare throughout the day, signing kids up for extracurricular and driving them to/fro). I honestly don’t even think my partner deserves half of what’s in our bank accounts, since they have not carried even half of the mental load in our lives. During this time, I also paid off their student loan in full. I’ve also basically been paying for our mortgage (and our 2nd mortgage) by myself for the majority of our home ownership, which was never the “plan” when we bought it together. I also feel like the bad guy if I don’t leave my partner with half our money. But my partner refused to find employment for the past 2 years, and has only recently started searching, and even that effort has been limited to “searching”, not actively applying, and they also limit the job search to high-level jobs, vs. any job that will bring us income, that we desperately need.  I’m clearly bitter and resentful and I certainly want to co-parent amicably, but I already know my partner is going to make this a painful separation and probably will not be able to keep a “united front” to tell the kids, since they do not wish to separate.  I need help. I am clearly trauma-bonded and cannot escape the grasp of my narcissist partner. Has anyone else gone through this? This whole post sounds desperate, because that’s where I am at this point. Send help!

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I feel for you - a very difficult spot.  In all candor, I think you would be best served by first seeing an individual therapist - to help you with how you cooperate with the dysfunction that has developed, and to strengthen you for the difficult separation work ahead.  After there's some clarity with those issues, then you can decide a family law attorney or a mediator.  From reading your post, I fear that in a mediation situation, you will continue to be taken advantage of.  You deserve a strong advocate and ally who will be objective, clear, and firm in ways that you may not be able to achieve yourself at present. 

I was divorced in 2014 and I didn’t have kids with my ex but I can relate to your situation. Having kids will make it harder from a legal custody battle perspective, but not being married will actually make it easier. For me, the best thing I did was get out. My ex told me they wanted a divorce and started making it impossible to live in the same home. I decided to move out 2 months later and filed for divorce. Moving out gave me the space I needed to clear my head and get the peace I needed, but the divorce was a mess and I had years of litigation over our only asset which was our home. Good news is your assets aren’t community property so you only have contractual obligations and if you want to keep and stay in the house you will need to buy out your partner. I would consult with an attorney first, and see what you need to do to protect your children. Then I would start looking at finances and get a separate bank account and start putting some money away for incidentals and legal fees. The best thing for your ex would be to agree to a settlement or buyout, and you will need a lawyer to help draft and negotiate. This is not going to be easy but the sooner the better is really true for these types of relationships. Be as cooperative as you can. Avoid conflict. If they become violent or physical GET A RESTRAINING ORDER ASAP because abuse only gets worse. Good luck. 

I'm so sorry you and your kids are going through this transition. I wish I had some great mediator recommendations or optimistic advice. However, at the risk of being dramatic, I wanted to write in with some guidance. I was in a similar experience (not married, but partnered for a long time). We did not own anything together and had separate bank accounts, so I didn't have to negotiate that. However, I did end up giving him lots of money at the advice of our therapist. She thought it was the kind thing to do and would help him get set up with a nice apartment for our child to live in. Long story short, he blew all the money and couch surfed until he moved in with a new girlfriend and ignored all mediation/court agreements. I had been the primary parent, responsible for our child's medical needs/appointments, recreational activities and camps, school support, etc. However, in CA, custody is typically split 50/50. It was an absolute nightmare trying to co-parent with my ex. Trying to make decisions about medical and summer plans was impossible and contentious. Eventually,I just gave up and we stopped speaking. He gave me no money (despite having a court order for child support/splitting camps etc. 50/50), but would pay for things if asked by our child. So, I just stopped asking. The lack of co-parenting is one of the most sad and disappointing things in my life. To end on a positive note, though,our child does have a good relationship with both of his parents, and once I stopped trying to enforce the court order, my ex did leave me alone. He didn't help me, but he also did stop trying to hurt me. So that was an improvement, and our child was happier. 

I'm in the middle of a divorce with someone with narcissistic tendencies.  I agree with the poster who said that seeing your own therapist will help you, especially if you feel you are trauma bonded.  Part of my problem was feeling sorry for my husband.