Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Ambiguous loss/grief

Ambiguous loss. I finally found the word for it. A definition for the cluster f*ck of emotions that schizophrenia left me with after ripping away my fiancé and robbing my son of his daddy.

There is no death certificate and there was no funeral to attend. No finite moment of loss and yet here I lay, wide awake on a Sunday night, grieving the death of a man who is still very much alive. Alive but so, so far away. Unreachable.

To be honest, I spend most days wishing I could hate him the way that his schizophrenia has made him hate me. Paranoia has made him belive that I am the enemy, followed by a long list of bizarre accusations and many hateful words, all of which trample through my mind daily. I want to hold every awful and heartbreaking word against him. I want to be angry at him for creating this hell that he now doesn’t have to live in, to be resentful over the tens of thousands of dollars that he has cost me and my family. I want to be pissed off over having to pick up the pieces of our shattered life. I want to be all of those things and more but it isn’t long before a song will come on the radio or for the memories to flood in. The lump in my throat begins to swell and before I know it large hot tears are rolling down my face. I grab a tissue and wipe away the very same tears I cried so many times before as I was pleading with him to accept help, except for this time it’s not him that needs to do the accepting - it’s me. Accepting that healing can be done in the midst of the unresolved without love or hate in the heart.


That is a good way of putting it. The person you used to know is gone. But there was no funeral or burial like you said. My daughter dealt with paranoia for quite a while… her voices telling her that we couldn’t be trusted, only the voices could be trusted. So, for two years she suffered in silence without telling anyone what she was dealing with… looking back I could probably see clues… but we had no way of interpreting those clues… we knew she was dealing with something but thought it was just normal teenage angst. We had thoughts that maybe we were starting to lose her, but had no clue to what. She was becoming less and less the happy girl we used to know. She kept on insisting that she didn’t professionally help until recently… she finally opened up last summer what she was dealing with… and that she might need help. We listening to her descriptions of the voices, her panic attacks, the traumatic situation that might lead to her psychotic break… we were speechless… as time progressed we came to know the name of the enemy that was “killing” our daughter…through counseling and her doctor suggesting possible diagnoses, trying to get set up with a psychiatrist and finally her first hospitalization in the psych ward…

Ambiguous loss… yep that is what it is…


Yes the grieving is harder with a mental illness. It takes time but eventually you can come to terms with the new life you have been given. Learning about it and connecting to other s really helps too.

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Yes, good name for this feeling: ambiguous loss. It is like a winding river, sometimes strong, sometimes gentle, but always flowing … ambiguous loss. I feel it tonight: despite meds, despite a 3 years struggle, despite love… the voice of my daughter is wafting down the hall at 4:28 am, in conversation with her mind people. Ugh. I so wish I could make them go away and her well again (and me, as I am no longer the same person I was…)

You were robbed of your old life, and your son will never know his father. Awful. I understand the quest for healing of the love / hate boiling over.


The same has just happened to us with our son. Trying to figure this new world out.

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