Saturday, June 28, 2008

In Sickness And In Health

Ok, here we go...a non PC blog. I'm sure that I'll offend some folks, but hey, its right in my subtitle that I'm non PC, nobody can say they weren't warned.

When you get married, there's the traditional vows which in part say, "...for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, til death us do part."

I have a problem with the 'in sickness' part. Lemme 'splain.

Addictions are considered a disease. Something I completely disagree with, but I'll save that for another blog. Mental illness is an illness.

Both of these issues can have serious serious serious ramifications on a family, a marriage. While there are varying degrees of issues associated with them, I have to say that I get completely enraged when I hear of people talking about how their spouse curses, screams, stomps around, blames everything on either the spouse and/or children, and basically is a threatening presence in the home. Or that they are either bankrupting the family financially, are unsafe to be around the children, become violent...

Its time to leave when that happens, folks. Marriage vows bedamned. When your spouse becomes a threat to you or your children, its time to pack and go. I don't care if its a physical, psychological or emotional threat, its time to hit the road.

Its not about hating illness or addictions. Its about children needing and deserving safety. When I hear of people (lets be honest, I've only ever heard this from women) saying, "He's sick, I can't leave..." it makes me want to smack someone. The children in these circumstances NEED out. They have to be protected. Someone that is a negative in their lives like that is doing them incredible harm. It doesn't matter to the child if Daddy is mentally ill, drunk, or just a violent jerk, getting told he's useless, being thrown to the floor, being cursed at and berated leaves the same scars. As a parent, you do NOT have the right to sacrifice your children to keep your marriage vows. Your first priority is to your children's safety. Period. Your spouse is an adult, able to make choices. Even when mentally ill, an adult has the choice of seeking help. Addicts have the choice to seek sobriety. Children don't have options, they are completely without power and vulnerable to the adults in their lives.

I believe in the sanctity of marriage...but not at all costs. And saying that you can't leave because you took vows is a cop out in this scenario. You're sacrificing your children. They deserve better. And its up to the healthy parent to ensure that it happens.

I'm not saying that someone with mental illness is automatically dangerous, or that a mental illness is in of itself a must leave scenario. What I'm saying is there are behaviours that CAN occur with mental illness that DOES make them a danger to their families...and when that happens, its not to be excused because of the illness, that action MUST be taken.

Abuse is abuse is abuse. Period. Getting the children safe should be the first priority...then anything and everything else.

1 comment:

cheryl said...

I can so understand where you are coming from. Vows are great the day you say them and things are good, but when things turn ugly and they can turn quick and easy. You or you child/children safety become an issue you have to leave. It stinks that grown women and men can't figure that out for themselves and leave. I see a lot of women abused and stay and stay. Like I told one gal last week stay until when ? You children find you dead ? She is still there and so is he. This gal even confided in me that her hubby hits her 16 yr old child and she protects the hubby...... I confided this info in Child Protection Services. Someone has to stand up for the child and besides I was at work it was my job to report it.