First, the well spouse must ensure safety for the family. The WS’s first responsibility must be to any young children in the family. If the MIS refuses to cooperate with doctors, participate in the treatment program, take medication, and is abusive, the WS will not be able to stay with the MIS. Even though well spouses believe strongly in the sanctity of marriage and in eternal commitment [or they would have been “out of there” a long time ago], the WS’s first responsibility must be the children. If the WS doesn’t look out for the welfare of the children, then who will?
The WS should not tolerate physical abuse. Whether this behavior is a function of the illness or the person, it must be stopped immediately, Sometimes medication must be adjusted to control anger and violent behavior. This adjustment should be made immediately, or the WS should leave until the danger has passed.
The WS should not tolerate verbal abuse. This behavior is more likely to be a function of the illness, not the person. Regardless, it should be stopped or controlled. The WS certainly must learn not to internalize abuse. The WS must protect young children from verbal abuse.