I don’t often post about my oldest child, M, but sometimes my experiences with them help me put other things that happen in my life in context. I think it’s important to recognize that mental illness — even something as drastic as being bi-polar or a sociopath — don’t excuse a person from bad behavior.
Often people who are bipolar or sociopaths are also narcissists. M triggered multiple visits from DCFS by accusing me or my wife of abuse. Every time, of course, the social worker came to visit, and almost immediately determined that there was no abuse, and eventually M became the kid who cried wolf. M was very good at stirring up trouble between my ex and myself with emotional manipulation. This is what people with THAT KIND of mental illness (EDIT: the way theirs manifests, not everyone with Bi-polar) do.
M stole money and objects, M was violently aggressive, M was verbally abusive, M was a master liar and manipulator, and M consistently refused to take his medication. It was NEVER M’s fault. There was always someone who had made them do whatever they’d done. It is because of this that M went to the hospital multiple times, it’s because of this that M was involuntarily committed to an in-patient residential therapy visit, it’s because of this that I had to remove them from my home, and it’s because of this that I haven’t seen them in four years.
I would never -ever- say that accusations of abuse should be ignored. Accusations should absolutely be investigated, every time. But if the investigation shows that the accusations are false, that knowledge should be made as available as the original accusations. Context does sometimes matter.
People who are mentally ill are still responsible for the things that they do almost all of the time. It’s not right to go off meds and then expect people to say “well, they’re mentally ill, so they’re off the hook.”
Things are rarely as clear cut as they seem. Context does matter. When people say “believe people who say they’ve been abused” what that should mean is that we should investigate and pursue justice.