My reaction was to see if my kid can't work things out so that she can spend at least a couple of weeks with her Dad, giving them a chance to mend some emotional fences.
On Friday, my lawyer said "You have to tell your ex that she's in therapy." Honestly, it never occured to me to tell him. But I did as she advised and sent him an email saying "Your daughter expressed suicidal feelings, so I took her to a therapist. The therapist's name is [Ms. Therapist] and her phone number is [blahdeblee]." That was on the 10th. Poor Peaches came home every day and checked the answering machine and checked her email more than she has in the last year, but heard nothing from her father. On Wednesday, he finally sent me an email saying that my email was very vague and what's going on and why didn't I consult him before taking her to a therapist. Considering that his response to the news of his daughter's depression took five days, I didn't feel too guilty about not having consulted him.
I told him that I couldn't tell him much, as I wasn't party to Peaches' therapy sessions, that the therapist was limited by doctor/patient privilege, and that he should just call Peaches and ask her directly. Then he sent me an email saying "I'm making her plane reservations for the end of August. Is there going to be a problem with that?" This was an obvious fishing expedition, but I said "There might. The therapist said that she would know more after talking to Peaches a little more." This occasioned a full-fledged outburst from him where he questions my story and is trying to guess at what Peaches is in therapy for. Then he gave a completely fictionalized version of this past lawsuit season, making out that I am somehow selfishly forcing my daughter to spend time with him even though it's not what either of them want.
He then told me that my "refusal to cooperate" isn't helping. I lost it then, telling him that he had no right to say that he was Peaches' "father in more than just child support," even though he hasn't talked to her since March, and before that, December. I told him that the issue wasn't him - it was Peaches. To which he replied "You try to make everything about you...I'm her father...it's my right to know what is going on with her." But he still didn't call her.
Over the weekend, I did some hard thinking about the situation. I realized that he's operating on a mighty thin emotional margin. I have the resources to be a lot more emotionally generous than I have been. On Sunday, I told Peaches that she should call her father for Father's Day. She called his home phone, knowing that he would be out for the day. I asked if she wanted to call his cell phone, but she wrinkled her nose and shook her head. She wished him Happy Father's Day and told him that she loved him, then hung up. A few hours later, he called the house. From her end of the conversation, I gathered that he asked her what she was doing (playing a board game with a friend and watching a movie) and thanked her for the call. She was off the phone in 30 seconds. Afterward, she and her friend compared whose father was worse, but I think they tied, although her friend's father has the mitigating circumstance of being emotionally unstable due to a series of strokes.
When I got in this morning, I got an email from him saying that he had called the therapist. According to his email, the therapist told him that my lawyer would make the determination about whether Marion should see him or not. That sounds very suspicious to me, and I anticipate that when I talk to the therapist tomorrow, she'll tell me that she said something that, with the application of some very twisted logic, might be interpreted the way he did. But most people wouldn't interpret it that way. The worst part was that he ended with "So, it looks like you lied. That's real cooperation."
It feels like the only thing about claiming the moral high ground is that the assholes get to bite your ankles a lot, and the minute you kick them in the teeth, you slide down into the pit.