Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Any advice on how to use LEAP properly?

Hello all,

I am waiting for the copy of “I am not sick I don’t need help” to arrive at my local library, which could be a while. I have no access to therapy for myself, hence my requests on this forum, which has been very helpful so far.

In the meantime, my un-medicated schizoaffective husband, who is living in another state thousands of miles away and is homeless, is daily arguing with me on the phone, trying to get me to move back and live homeless with him.

I spent all my money moving last year to move, have had trouble finding work and have not been able to build my savings back up yet, but there is a possibility of a full-time job in the near future where I live now. I am wary of mentioning this to him because he wants to see me ASAP and the work would keep me away from him longer.

I do want to be with him in the future, but he wants me to move now. How do I listen to his concerns without upsetting him by suggesting I need to wait until I have enough money to move? When I have suggested this before, he becomes angry and threatens suicide. I am honestly doing all that I can physically and mentally do, yet it is not enough for him. Will the LEAP method help in this situation? His ideas are so fantastic and unrealistic. It is difficult for me to keep my mouth shut and he demands a response. What do I say? He is very smart and is not fooled by pat answers that he’s heard from psychiatrists and psychologists over the years.

Friends have suggested just letting him go and letting him take control of his own life. While I understand their position, my husband needs help that he hasn’t been able to find on his own (and resources are overtaxed in Northern CA where he is right now) and is in a desperate state of being. It tears me up that he is living the way he is right now. Any advice?

The past week has been extremely stressful and I would appreciate any advice. Love to you all; you’ve been great!

You can google it there are free youtubes that are good the Dr. Amador.

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Thanks, Diane

I have watched the videos in the past. I was hoping for perhaps some more specific examples of how listening (without responding) can be helpful. Maybe someone on the forum has used LEAP in a specific way that has been helpful?

I don’t know about LEAP, but as the ex wife of a sz, I say stay where you are and persue your own career. Tell him that one of you has to be financially stable for both of yours sake.
Can he come back and live w you?

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Listening to them, with some repeating of what they said so they know you are hearing what they are saying. EmpathIze - identify the emotion that would be a result of what they said. He says “I want you here” you say. “You want me there, you must feel lonely. It’s sad to feel lonely”.

Try to find points you can agree on. You do miss him, you would like to be with him. When pushed to say whether or not you are joining him. You can ask if the two of you can “agree to disagree” about whether or not now is a good time for you to move.

I never got to use partner much, we never got past agree to disagree most of the time. I did tell him that I would always help him in his efforts. And I do, he counts on me to handle his SS paperwork, taxes and help him when he has a problem. Usually when I communicate with my son it’s about something he needs me to do for him.

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Thank you for your input, Jan. I agree completely that at least one of us needs to be financially stable. Not only does he not want to move back where I am living but he would not be able to live with me. The relative we moved here to help (who I live with now because it is too expensive for me to move out on my own) does not want anything to do with him (does not understand or want to understand the illness). In our case, lack of money has been a big issue, but at our ages (late 40s) I don’t see either of us suddenly having enough.

Hope,

Thank you. I have a feeling that when I say “You want me there, you must feel lonely,” he will snap back with an angry comment, but it is a good suggestion. It is tough because although he chose to leave me, he feels that I made him leave and thinks it should be up to me to move to where ever he is now. I wish we could agree to disagree. We both want to see each other again, but I am willing to wait until the time is better for us financially (and it might only be a visit, not me moving back to where he is).

I know, when they are focused on something it is tricky. So hard to distract them on to another subject. I am sorry.

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Husband: Hello.

Wife: Hi, it’s good to hear your voice.

H: You need to move here right now.

W: I miss you. Do you miss me?

Yes! Come right now.

Remember when we used to… (cook dinner together, go to movies, ride scooters, whatever fun and nice things you did together)

Yeah, that was great. I want to do it tomorrow.

I wish we could.

Just come and we’ll do it tomorrow.

I can’t come. I’m sorry.

Screaming and yelling and threatening.

I’m really sorry I can’t come. You’re so important to me.

Screaming and yelling and threatening increases.

Hey, I’m going to get off the phone. I love you, but I can’t listen to this yelling.

Well, when are you coming here?

I don’t know.

Screaming and yelling and threatening.

I love you so much. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Good night.

That’s just Listening and Empathizing. That has to happen for a bit of time while boundaries are established. Something like, Hey, last night it was good to hear your voice, but I can’t listen to yelling. Did anything interesting happen today?

I never got to the Agreeing and Partnering phases, but the first two helped a lot.

Anyway, I don’t know how the rest would go, but prioritize the relationship you do have (long distance right now because it has to be) second to your own well-being and financial stability. It doesn’t mean you don’t love him. This illness often pushes our family members and ourselves into survival mode. We just have to get through things as best we can.

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Hi Hereandhere,

Thank you for the script. I wanted to make a joke about how you must have been eavesdropping on the conversation we had tonight. :grin: That is exactly what happens with us, that the conversation reaches the point where I have to tell him no or that I can’t do something for him and the screaming and yelling begins. I hope he recognizes that I am listening and empathizing. It would hurt me for him to disappear from my life and it would be so easy for him to do that in his current situation. We are both in survival mode. I will work more on vocalizing my listening and empathizing; maybe I’m not doing that enough.

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I reading Dr. Amador’s book now. I love it.

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I’m still waiting for the inter-library loan to get it in to my library. My phone conversations with my husband have grown increasingly stressful, so I am hoping the book will arrive soon and I can navigate the conversations better.

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I’m glad, it really helped me understand that anosognosia is a real symptom. When I was trying to tell my son that the things he was hearing weren’t real, it just put up a wall between us. These methods took down that wall, we agreed to disagree about whether or not what he was hearing was real. I began to understand that it was more important that he be able to talk to me and I would have a better chance to get him on meds some day if I used those methods.

How is your son doing?

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I just found this one page pdf overview of LEAP! I am going to share this with my support group! But this won’t make sense to you unless you read the book or study more detail about it online. LEAP has helped us! I know every situation is different but I encourage you not to give up. This has real merit…and if it could help…why not??? Here is a link: https://www.spotlightonmentalhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/The-LEAP-overview.pdf

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Thank you for this, hope4us. It is a very simple breakdown of the LEAP method.

I am not giving up on my husband, although it is definitely challenging and draining. All I want is for him to be able to live peacefully, whether he is medicated or not.

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That’s a great summary sheet, hope4us. Thanks for sharing it.

Yes. I hope that for you both.

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If I try to empathize and say, “that sounds confusing” or “that must be really frustrating” he gets mad that I am telling him what he is thinking. My therapist said to say, “I am feeling really sad listening” Or “I really need to take a break right now, I am feeling overwhelmed” Or, " I need to go finish this chore."

So it depends on the person and how they react. Do give LEAP method a try. It might work with your husband.

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I would change the phrasing. Instead of saying, “That must be confusing”, word it in terms of how YOU would feel if you were having his experience (eg Wow, if I had people tracking me and trying to set me up for things I hadn’t done, I think I’d be feeling anxious and maybe really angry).

He may agree or he may tell you he feels something different, but he won’t get upset with you for trying to tell him how he feels.

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Like @Itsastruggle suggests, adjust it for your family member.

Even though my husband isn’t my family member with scz, I have used LEAP on him with pretty good results :laughing:

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