*** This follows from a discussion started on the "Welcome Back" thread ***
I agree with you, Fire, and I do not think that you should feel guilty. Your child's safety is your responsibility. If you allow her to be with her dad when it is not safe or rather when he is not behaving responsibly, who do you think this society will blame? Of course on the other hand this society will fault you for not finding a way to get the two of them together. The heck with society!!! Your danged if you do and danged if you don't. So go with your heart and with what's in the best interest of the child.
I vowed long ago that I would not be responsible for my daughter's relationship with her father. I do not encourage it, and I do not maintain it. I feel to do otherwise would be to permit the perpetuation of a lie. I feel that my role is to be there to help her through the tough times rather than to build and sustain a fantasy world for her. It is unfortunate that he has chosen not to be more participatory, however that's who he is.
I do not prevent him from seeing her or calling her. I did create and propose the visitation schedule and he loosely follows it. I also plan the activities they do during the visit. When I decided to back out of that, my daughter requested that I continue because he doesn't make plans. But that's the extent of my involvement. I'm just getting to the point where I can discuss her visits. I'd much prefer to be completely detached. But I know that because this is a part of her life that's important to her now, I need to be interested.
When I can manage it, I sometimes try to get her to discuss her anger. She's admitted to being angry at me and she's told me what she thinks life would be like if we were all together. I then use an example family from television (usually the Cosbys) and we talk about their family dynamics. Then I ask her to compare that to our previous family dynamics. She sees my point. However for some reason (maybe it's developmental) it doesn't stick. I sometimes also get angry because when he's with her, it's after a full night's sleep versus laundry, meals, drop-off and pick-up, work, homework, hair, bathing, storytime, and the miscellaneous stuff we do with our children in between all that, so he's a great guy full of energy, able to give his undivided attention and spend large sums of money! "What's not to like Mommy? You're just mean!" That's the image she's comparing. I know she's too young to know the difference, but it still hurts.