This post comes with more than its fair share of emotions, hurt feelings, irritation, and I am just plain dumbfounded. So readers beware!! LOL
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Ignorant in this way:
a: destitute of knowledge or education <an ignorant society>; also: lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified <parents ignorant of modern mathematics> b: resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence <ignorant errors>
With that being said when someone says a person is ignorant it does not mean it is a put down of the person it is possible for it to be a statement of pity (or wishing it wasn’t so) that a person is unaware, uniformed, or destitute of knowledge, or comprehension (ignorant).
The reason for this post is because I happened to be involved in a discussion where it seemed to me that a person was ignorant to different types of OCD and the anxiety/fear they produce and lacked empathy to the plight of people who it affects.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Empathy in this way:
: the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it
: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also: the capacity for this
And for that reason I felt it important to stand up and let people know that statements that are given off in an air of authority with a Black and White connotation and with a level of 100% certainty is NOT acceptable. I stand beside my comments because they were made with others in mind and their emotional health and well-being as well as the emotional health and well-being of their families. My intent is not to move my own agenda forward (or prove my point) but to truly help people who are suffering with OCD to move forward toward health and happiness.
I am sure after all that rambling you are wondering what exactly I am talking about. Well I will explain in shortened form what transpired. An unnamed person made the statement “It is clear in my mind that when a person with ocd involves their kids in the rituals that this is child abuse and child abuse is illegal”. I do NOT and will NOT ever agree with this statement and I am proud of myself because I felt strong enough to stand up and say such. However, with my standing up I have had comments made to me that are not so nice. I accept those comments because I put myself out there knowing I could have backlash. With that being said I am not saying that there are NEVER cases of parents who have severe OCD that could allow the manifestations of their disease, obsessions and/or compulsions, to disrupt a child’s life to such an extreme degree that it may be in the best interests of the family for the children to receive care from others while the parent with OCD receives the appropriate level of care needed.
What bothers me is not only that the statement was made but the way in which it was made. It was made as a blanket statement in a black and white way, 100% certain, with a lack of empathy for others. When I voiced this and gave an opportunity for an apology to be made that it sounded that way (I mean I could have just read it wrong or the person could have just phrased it wrong) the response I got back was that there are things in this world that are black and white and that involving children in rituals IS child abuse. (capitilization is added by me)
I just don’t understand! So EVERY ritual a person has that would somehow involve a child is child abuse??? Really?? That would mean that every parent with OCD commits child abuse every single day. Let’s think about this logically. Here are a few examples, you decide…child abuse or not?
A person with contamination fears makes sure a child washes their hands EVERY single time they use the potty (some parents without contamination fears may easily let it slide sometimes) so that parent has committed child abuse because with them there is no if’s, and’s, or but’s you are going to follow the CDC’s recommendation of washing your hands EVERY single time you use the potty? Goodness let’s all phone the Child Protection Services right now…we may have a child that won’t get sick from not washing his hands and not make other children sick from not washing his hands.
A person with safety fears has numerous obsessions involving their child being harmed so their compulsion is to make sure they are safe by not allowing them to do certain things. Such as bicycle, skateboard, rollerblade, etc. without appropriate headgear, knee pads, wrist pads, elbow pads, pants and tennis shoes. That sounds like good common sense but because not every “normal” parent would do that and because it is tied to a fear it is considered a compulsion/ritual. So is this parent committing child abuse?
A person with health fears has an obsession with their children’s health, making sure they are not sick. So they keep track of their child’s poop schedule. They know what day they went if they child said it was fine or their was an issue with going. Again this could be a healthy habit, in fact I had a doctor recommend creating a chart to keep track for my children. Anyway because this is tied to a fear of the parent with OCD this would be a compulsion or part of a ritual. So is this parent committing child abuse?
A parent with obsessions of doing something sexually inappropriate may make sure from the day the child is born, that the child NEVER sees the parent undressed or anywhere near what could be construed as not fully dressed. Do some “normal” parents do this? Probably. Do some “normal” parents walk around naked in front of their children? Probably. But again the actions are based on an obsessive fear so the actions are considered a compulsion/ritual. So is this parent committing child abuse?
side note: Morbid Thoughts in Parents with OCD doesn’t seem to be talked about much so here is an article that describes it well by Dr. Fred Penzel that is posted on the International OCD Foundations website: http://ocfoundation.org/EO_IntrusiveKids.aspx
There are so many more examples…. way too numerous to expound on. My point is this no one should make a blanket statement such as “when a person with ocd involves their kids in the rituals that this is child abuse and child abuse is illegal”. To say this, is in my opinion simply illogical without ANY sense of logic.
While I am sure it can be True in some cases it is not fair to say it is true in ALL cases. It is not fair and it also can be harmful, hurtful, and almost poisonous to someone struggling with OCD/Depression.
So once again I will state that:
I would like to apologize to others for what I feel are ignorant statments that others may voice as 100% true such as “when a person with ocd involves their kids in the rituals that this is child abuse and child abuse is illegal” . PLEASE do not feel horrible because you have OCD and are a parent but use you children as a catalyst to help you move forward to keep working. OCD presents many challenges..both for the parent and for the children. But every single family has their own challanges to deal with. Ours may be different in form but serve the same function…a challenge to work through and be stronger for it.
I really wish the world was full of empathy and free of ignorance.
I truly believe an apology should be made although it seems that will never happen. So I must use all my training from therapy and move on with these unpleasant feelings. I am hurt becuase I hurt for others and how it could make them feel. I am irritated that someone that has OCD could not empathize with another person with OCD who has different fears than theirs. I am dumb-founded that many people as a whole will go along with another person stating things such as this without speaking up and letting the “truth” be known. I can move on and I will move on.
Signed with Empathy and lack of Ignorance (on this one subject),
Logically Illogical With OCD