Chilly Confrontation

When Michael enters the room, Dr. Phil invites him to have a seat. Michelle is already seated. "You know this lady," Dr. Phil says.

"Yes, I do," says Michael. "Hello, Michelle." Michelle returns a curt hello.

"You two are at major odds," says Dr. Phil, "and I want to talk about that a little bit. You two may never live as husband and wife again, but you will forever be the biological parents of these children and their allies, those who are supposed to protect and prepare and nurture them. You've got to put their interest above your own. And you feel like you've done that," he tells Michael, "because you knew you were putting yourself in harm's way when you took them away."

Michael, says, "Yes."

Turning to Michelle, Dr. Phil says, "Your concern is that he's going to do it again." Michelle agrees. "And that if things don't go the way that you think they ought to that [Mike will] abscond with the children again. Will you?" Dr. Phil asks Mike.

"A year has gone by, and the children have gotten older and I think in the future that we'd probably be able to handle it differently," says Michael. "And I'm not sorry that I did go. I think it's resulted in a good outcome for everybody concerned, and I know that Michelle has gone through a lot of pain, and I'm sorry that she did, and I don't think it's going to happen again."

Michelle tells him, "I'm still not confident that you wouldn't run again, just listening to you."

"I'm a mediator," says Dr. Phil. "I'm the kind of person who tries to find a win-win situation for everybody involved. You have certain priorities that you think are fundamental to the evolution of these girls into the young women that they are to become, and those are faith-based and, I think, certainly worthy of all respect from every corner. You have the very same concerns. That doesn't mean you two share the same point of view on how to do certain things or whatever, but that's what you call working the problem. But they need their mom. There are things they need you can't give them."

"That's true," Michael concedes.

Dr. Phil continues, "Because there's just certain stuff they're not going to talk to you about. They're going to have questions about things that [Michelle is] the one to answer. I think you consider yourself to be a man of faith and honor. My question to you is will you commit that you won't run with these children?"

"I will not run with the children again," says Michael.

"OK," says Dr. Phil, "I take you at your word, because I don't think you'd say it if you didn't mean it."

"No, I mean it," Michael stresses.

"Let me make a commitment back to you," says Dr. Phil. "I will help y'all work the problem. Whatever the resources might be, this needs to be pieced together, but at this point, can we begin to move down this road and let me help and facilitate this?"

Michelle says, "Absolutely."

"You two might not like everything about each other, but you love those girls, and you have that in common, and that's the only bond that you need at this point. Can we embrace that?" Michelle says yes.