Anyone a sibling who feels resentment?

I know there are topics on this issue but it seems like they are from many, many years ago, so starting a new one. Anyone out there who is a sibling of someone who is schizophrenic? I don’t know that schizophrenia is the issue for sure with my sibling but suspect at least something in that realm & know that the other siblings in my family who have jobs, support themselves and their families and live “normal” lives (including me) are discarded for the demanding sibling. The (probably) ill sibling is extremely demanding and catered to to an extraordinary extent - money, very expensive housing, attention, and so on. And yet NO acknowledgment by parents that maybe this isn’t normal…the message has always been just that the sibling is extraordinarily talented and amazing (yet has not worked for decades, gets financial help and help with day to day things like childcare, house cleaning, house repairs, and so on). It is hard not to feel very deep resentment. Why is it that the ones who work and don’t ask for a lot are “the jerks” who are failures and deserve nothing? And the the one who demands absolutely everything (often in not nice ways) is catered to? I don’t mind giving up money and attention etc AT ALL
for someone who needs more - but why are we totally dismissed as worthless? Don’t parents realize that the well siblings may actually add some value to their lives and could potentially be quite important when aging sets in? Would love to hear from siblings and parents. Why do we mean so little? I posted more on our whole story a few days ago but this is a more focal post.

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Many parents are in denial about a child’s mental illness but deep down most suspect something is not right. They therefore may over-enable the ill child to compensate for the guilt they feel. That’s no reason to take other adult children for granted, but put yourself in their place: the rest of you are adults and self-sufficient. The ill child probably takes up all their worries and preoccupies their thoughts. It’s natural to be protective in such a situation.

As for the sibling dynamics, I am close to a person with SZ and their sibling. I have heard it from both sides: the resentful, angry sibling versus the resentful, angry mentally ill one. I understand both perspectives. The sibling who feels like you do, who perhaps also was abused by the ill sibling (esp. if birth order plays a role.) The ill sibling recounts difficulties in school, making and keeping friends, being able to do “normal” things. The ill sibling recounts how the parents and others regard the cognitively healthy sibling as smart and accomplished whereas the ill one, who probably couldn’t stick with academics or a job, is appeased by being told they were “special in other ways.” Take the usual sibling issues and add the delusions and negative symptoms that occur with severe mental illness, and it’s no wonder many people with SZ end up alone, esp. after the parents are gone.

I’d like to cut through all the above and remind you that you and your other siblings who are cognitively “normal” have been given the greatest gift of all: sound mental health. The fact that you are not condemned to the infernal, isolated life of severe mental illness is something you should keep in mind whenever possible. Your ill sibling can’t help being ill. They need your love and support, despite the challenges and sacrifices these pose to you. If you have children, put yourself in their place for a moment. Imagine how you would feel if your child began exhibiting the signs of mental illness early on, and progressively got worse. Your parents also deserve empathy and support, even if it seems they are not treating you fairly. The best thing you can do for them and all of you is to work on gaining their acceptance that the ill sibling needs treatment and help, whatever the final diagnosis. Try to focus on making this happen. Maybe start with watch the LEAP videos and reading about this approach. Be proactive if you can, and you may end up giving them (and your ill sibling) a great gift in return.

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Hi, another sibling here, with a brother who has had schizophrenia for decades. Your situation sounds very confusing and you must be so frustrated to be shut out, with fears that something is deeply wrong with your sibling.

I’ve been on both sides of this issue, actually. When I was younger, as I’ve shared before on this forum, I basically walked away from the stress of my brother for all of my 20s, as I built my career, married and became a parent. During that time and esp. leading up to it, I certainly felt resentment for my brother taking every single last shred of parental attention away from me (and presumably, my two other siblings.)

But I understand now that my parents were under extraordinary stress and heartbreak. I kind of knew that then, too, but it still really hurt to be dismissed as worthless, as you put it. Eventually, I gave up thinking they would address how upset I was.

Over time as my life stabilized, I tried to show my sincere willingness to get involved and help.
And yet, it STILL took years of asking questions and listening before my parents moved beyond saying he was both in dire straits but also basically, “fine.” Sort of like how you wrote in your other post that your parents just won’t share what is happening.

What finally worked was time and my behavior. I had to show up and hang with my brother and keep asking about his life, and be willing to get into the scene as it was, not with me as the big rescuer, but joining up with what all they had already tried–and do it with respect. I read books and attended workshops and after I caught up with as much of the situation as I could, a situation I think on some level I was avoiding; I just didn’t want to know it was SO hard to deal with someone with serious mental illness, only then did I start getting…invited to the party, so to speak, as a participant and a player.

Now that my dad is gone and my mom is fading fast, I’m basically IT for my brother. Tables have turned. I feel angry with my other siblings who occasionally, and I mean occasionally, give a passing “Oh, how’s he doing? We should do X or Y someday with him (my brother.)” But they don’t ask about specifics, they’re out of touch with his diagnosis, his meds and daily challenges as well as his awesome strengths. They think I’m just “good with him” when in fact all I am is someone who stepped up to the plate. And so I kind of dismiss them.

I’m working on looking for ways to include them that don’t make my job of caregiving harder than it already is. I suspect they now think I give my all to him and that I’m not concerned with them, and I guess it’s true to an extent. I can spend some time with them, hearing about their wonderful lives, but then I have had enough. Because, as all of us family members know, it takes an enormous amount of mental and even physical energy and focus to help someone with a serious mental illness.

I understand, and maybe you could try to see, why a parent would overfocus on someone with schizophrenia. I see myself now doing a favor to society by keeping him off the streets (or worse.) So I just don’t have the energy all the time to listen to my other siblings’ talk about their unencumbered, fortunate lives. Nor, confusingly, do I want to be the one to insist they get involved and feel the strain. I suppose I’m flattering myself that I’m doing them a kindness.

I’m working on this.

I hope you are let into the conversation or the problem soon, if that’s what you’re ready for, and I hope you can be of genuine service to the situation. A therapist might be best to hear you out on the pain and serious stress you feel. I am sure it is simply enormous. I really do understand that. I went to see someone years ago and it helped a lot. I think that’s part of why I can now help my brother a little bit.

If your parents continue calling you a jerk, well, that’s on them. Did I read that right? Wow.

Best of luck. These are my best thoughts for you. Hope they help.


@chimain thank you for your thoughtful response. I can definitely see how it would be an endless source of stress. When they did let us into their lives we did everything to play along with it and be supportive. Honestly, we just twisted ourselves into pretzels to accommodate and be calm and listen and never react, no matter how mean our sibling was to us (and it could be extremely abusive). So we were doing everything like you were saying and every once in a while try to tip toe into perhaps another way of looking at an issue - Trying to pave the way for support and a conversation later if that could come to be. Never ever confronting and just being kind and supportive. Then suddenly they cut everyone off (except for those super surface level interactions which are basically meaningless). We all worry and wonder and have tried to reach out. If we actually did something like show up (which one of us did) it is VERY clear that is not wanted. Our parents will basically do whatever they can to keep us away. We all want to help, we all understand mental illness pretty well (e.g., I have a close friend for 20+ years who has lived the very sad story of a violent child with SMI, it’s heartbreaking). And of course most of us have gotten extensive counseling. Do they call us jerks? I would say basically yes. For example, one of us has a pretty successful and prestigious job by anyone’s standards. A year or so before cutting off contact that sibling was told by our parents for no reason that “they had no idea what it was to actually have to work and have a real job”. And so the sibling apologized for the fact they had a meaningless career, which was accepted and only after that apology did the attack stop. One can see where that likely originates - if indeed my sibling is MI - that we don’t understand how hard their lives are, the “real job” they have in a daily basis. On the one hand I can sympathize but it’s awfully hard to have to eviscerate oneself to make them feel better. That seems to go too far for “understanding”. But I must say that even that wasn’t good enough for letting us try to stick around and be supportive. So maybe it is what it is and we have to just move on. But the fact that there is a child in the mix…(our sibling’s child)…we just hope that child will be ok. There is no arrest or conviction record but sometimes I do wonder if the prompt for hiding was some sort of violent event. I guess because it isn’t in any record anywhere nothing happened?

Sounds awful. I hope the child is okay. That’s where my biggest concern would be too, were I in your shoes with your situation.

@chimain I guess your post just confirms that really waiting is all we can do. That is helpful. We have thought about no longer sending cards and gifts, which I have been doing for years - and so have other family members. Your post makes me think maybe we should keep trying. If you don’t mind me asking, what are the most time consuming and stressful aspects of caring for your sibling? With my friend, it quickly graduated to a situation of being untenable and she had to take out a restraining order. So a different kind of stress and unbearable pain, but not day to day caring - day to day extreme worry, though. I know of other SMI situations but none such that it would be so totally overwhelming that it is a complete drowning. Very close, and absolutely awful, but not such that there is almost no energy for others, as you describe in your situation. I’m just curious as I could see one day us being in your shoes if something happens to my parents. Which presumably one day, sadly, something will. They are not young. I think if this is actually the situation & the origin of the cutting off, things could quickly unravel, esp if our father is the one who is left.

You may not drown. You may be better at this than I am. We all handle things differently. But the waiting is surely not easy. In my case, it became obvious when I needed to step in.

To answer your question: It’s both time-consuming and stressful for me to drop whatever is happening in my life and drive the two hours to my sibling’s town to help him with things like sudden doctor’s appointments, broken air conditioners, flooded bathrooms, missed rent payment, clothes shopping etc. (Just last week, it snowed here and he called to tell me he had no boots for work. Two days later, I picked out, paid for and gave him a new pair.) I Just the shifting of gears from one unexpected issue to the next is hard for me.

The stress is also that I worry I may have to move someday, uproot my life, to be closer to him. As it is, I don’t have to do day-to-day caring. He handles himself enough to live without that. But I’ll always wonder if he’d be better, were I to move. I know he’d be better. He responds well to kindness and support.

It takes time and effort to help him keep his apartment clean, so he doesn’t get kicked out. It is really astounding how messy he is. I co-signed his lease, so I have access, which is good, but I also have the responsibility of the place, too, which is bad.

At present, I see him at least every week. I call at least once more per week.

Although I enjoy his company for the most part, since he is intelligent, it is also draining to be with him at times. His thoughts are all over the place, as we all know, to put it mildly. I’ve given up trying to talk him out of things, but I do try to steer him towards good choices. My head is usually spinning after a couple hours of chatter! It’s like an extreme brain workout, trying not to overreact. I think you mentioned something like that, doing that with your family members.

I guess the main stress is feeling or thinking that if I’m not in his life helping him manage it, he’s all on his own. That’s a ton to handle. I just wish I had someone (besides my tired husband) to shoulder this with me.

Also, I’m probably exceptionally overwhelmed now because my mother also needs my care. Sadly, when she’s gone, it may be easier. I will probably have more of that coveted energy.

In general, I have had a lot to learn to assist my sibling. The meds–which ones, why, are they the right ones, what causes what to happen? All that SSI, SSDI stuff. If he stops the meds that help him, then what? Lots to think about.

BUT: I felt worse when I was not helping him.

@chimain this is so extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing. It is interesting, what you describe as the types of issues that arise that result in you needing to drop everything and help…those seem familiar. For example, I would observe during visits the taking to the doctor, helping with repairs, and so on. I don’t want in any way to seem disrespectful or not understanding, so I hope what I am going to ask next doesn’t come across that way - I am just trying to understand. What happens if you don’t, for example, take your sibling to the doctor? My observation, when we were allowed to be around, was that going to the doctor was an incredibly common occurrence…at least 1x/week. It was clear our parents took our sibling to the doctors, just like one does with a child. I thought it was unusual and most of the time seemed unnecessary (like the stated issues didn’t really seem like issues). I always wondered if maybe there was more to the story so never said anything. So, if it isn’t for a critical issue, what happens if you just don’t do it? I understand the concern about eviction. But in our siblings case there is no concern about eviction or loss of job (no need for one, our parents financially support everything, including house ownership). So why be so concerned about taking to the doctors, providing house cleaning and so on? For the things that don’t result in eviction or job loss…does your sibling harass you if you don’t follow through? I did observe my sibling absolutely harass our father about a house repair. At the time I was astonished as our father was still working, in fact quite stressed at the time, and well past retirement age. My sibling didn’t work, had minimal responsibilities, and yet wanted my father to take care of this repair—which was not a critical one to begin with. I was like “why don’t you call the repairman?! You have all the time in the world, he doesn’t”. I stayed out of it of course (per my earlier post). But I guess I wonder…what happens if you don’t obey? Is it a fear of what might happen that isn’t easily controllable? I know my friend has tremendous fear about her child being appropriately treated and not just sent to jail etc. Is part of the concern that if one doesn’t do what is requested/needed/demanded that things could unravel and that is so unpredictable that it is better to just to do what is asked. (This is not meant to be a criticism as I certainly was in this situation a lot growing up and it makes a lot of sense to me. In our household when things unraveled it really could get to be a lot. Better to just do what is asked even if a bit over the top, because things could get so much worse. Like best to apologize for having a “dumb job” than risk their wrath by saying that even if an inferior job in their eyes, it is still one that allows them to support their family, buy a house, etc.)

Well, my brother has a debilitating mental illness and would rarely have the insight, judgement or agency to insist I or anyone do anything, including a repair. It’s not a question of obeying anyone. He simply doesn’t have the awareness at this time to know what is crucial or not. Example: when he left his sink on and flooded the bathroom and adjacent carpeted closet, he told me this five days later, after he had tried sopping it up with his clothes, which were left in a heap on the floor. I did come over and help him clean that up, fingers crossed the floor wasn’t really damaged.

Some things, many things, I let slide. Others, I make the choice to jump in and fix, because history has taught me, I am the one who’ll be there for the end result, so I might as well stay on top of the problem. Proactive maintenance is better than scrambling through a crisis, I’ve learned.

A doctor’s appointment once a week sounds extreme. I would try to find out if that’s for medical reasons, counseling, whatnot. I wouldn’t/couldn’t do that, but maybe back in the day, my parents were doing it to get my brother sorted out, more or less? In my case now, if I find out that an appt. for doc or dentist has been missed, I’d just wait for the next one to occur and get him ready. No one’s perfect.

Your situation/parents’ situation sounds much more oppositional on a personal level, but more secure in the basics, like money and housing. If that is set and secure, no one needs to jump at every hiccup. I would hope someday your sibling becomes grateful for assistance, not demanding.

Others on the forum may have better answers for you. Good luck. It can be hard.

First of all, I hear you that there are some deep hurts. I trust you can find a good therapist to deal with this hurt, anger and resentment. Please care for yourself. I have an angry sibling and it’s not easy though distance does help.

Second of all, I am not a sibling but a mother who has her second daughter dealing with Schizoeffective. We also have an older and younger daughter. If it would be okay I would like to share a few important ideas.

*Yes it’s exhausting to help a child with an SMI but I have also been concerned about our other two daughters. The older has been quite involved with her sister and the younger less so. I would like to see more family therapy but that isn’t always possible.
*Yes my husband and I have helped our daughter with significant expenses. In fact, at times I don’t always agree with my husband on how much. I must say our daughter is independent and working so that’s a huge help. In light of this, I try to find out the needs of my other two daughters though they are doing okay financially and socially. I agree it’s important for them to know I care.
*We have been concerned about the future when we are gone. We have set up a living trust especially with our daughter who struggles with SMI in mind. This means who will handle our monies when we are gone and help our daughter if needed. I would be concerned for you and the rest of the siblings what will happen after your mother has died!!! Do you know what their will or living trust says? There could be a battle among the siblings if things aren’t clear. Also since your brother’s house is in your parents name it would be good to be able to have your name on it as well. Also do you also have POA medical and financial and mental for your brother? This may be a family cooperation but important to deal with before your mother dies. Also who has this for your mother?
*Most importantly is that you need to care for yourself, set boundaries with your brother - I can do this but not that. Are they any support groups he attends and a therapist along with medications? You need to gather a team not only for your mother’s care but your brother’s care. DO NOT do it alone!
Remember one step at a time.

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@Julie1 thank you for your thoughts. I have no idea what any future plans are. Nothing has been shared because my parents have cut all of us out of their lives (and our sibling — or maybe our sibling has cut our parents off…hard to know who is “in control”). I’m so glad you think of your other children. It is important that they know you still love them. We assume at this point that our parents no longer love us, which is very hard for us to process. I know I can’t understand how one could not love their own children. I have children myself and it is simply unfathomable to me! I can’t wrap my head around that. But it seems to be the case. Yes, I have had lots of therapy, and still do. It’s a lot to deal with and I am very aware I need help. We so hope one day our parents realize they have this whole family that loves them. But I at least have accepted that that may never come to be. I also work on accepting the very deep pain they have inflicted upon my children (their discarded grandchildren). That is harder for me to forgive and in all honesty I may never be able to forgive that. I have forgiven them for their discard of me. But my children have been sad, and it is hard to watch. They know our parents (their grandparents) live and breathe for my sibling’s child — and yet can’t even send a piece of paper that that they write “happy birthday” on — would cost all of a dollar or so. But send their other grandchild to very expensive schools and so on. That is a hard pill to swallow. It’s a process for sure! Thanks for listening.

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I can attest @MtnMan sugguestions. You cannot do this alone. Likely you already see parts of his care team just by going to his doctor’s visits and stopping by the house when you need to. Getting the family involved where they can (and therefore calling a family meeting where you set out your brother’s needs and the types of help that they might be able to give) may be in order.

I don’t know your family situation and how close they are to him, ect, when it comes to providing help. Your feelings of being left alone and in some ways let down by your family are valid, especially because they are presuming you will always be able to take care of him more than they can. In all worst case scenarios where you have to have down time for a few weeks (say illness or simply needing to do things for your career/own mental health) someone or something has to be brought in to help with the situation. I have been in this road a LONG time. If you read some of my other comments here, I have been my brothers primary care taker for a while and only finally set some firm boundaries with him and my parents that include, essentially, that I can and will not be able to be the only person in his life if I actually want to get on with mine.

It’s a sad truth that no one with mental illness wishes on their family but some of their symptoms essentially make them non-functioning, something they either temporarily mask or completely deny their struggles to their own detriment. Otherwise have such powerful self loathing that it leads to suicidal ideation among other things, during rare periods of insight. (If it isn’t a positive symptom from their illness). We have also had to think far in advance of my brother’s later years. I cannot take care of him and my family has other chronic illness related caretaking to consider for their own children. We do not get along well with my brother (his symptoms are toned down by medication but never fully abate and familitarity breeds his paranoia like no other.) This is sadly, why he doesn’t have good long term relationships. He either gets with an extremely dysfunctional witch types or the extremely dysfunctional and endangered enabling types. The most solid relationships he has ever had left him when they saw it was destroying their own health to maintain a long term partnership. I can’t blame them, and to their credit, they have stepped up to help me or listen more intently to my issues than most of the other types my brother tends to “find” while not fully aware of his surroundings.

In simple actionable steps, I would call a family meeting after looking out for your brothers basic needs (food, shelter, housing, medical care) then build different strategies into taking care of those goods either via the public or private sector/mixtures of both. Getting ahead of the legal paperwork BEFORE something goes catastrophically wrong in your own life (care takers can have their own independent medical emergencies too) is essential. Proving he needs essential care support is extremely difficult as it essentially means leaving him alone. This isn’t defrauding the state systems (as I’ve had other people tell me, when I left my brother but not my parents to his own devices to trash, ruin, and destroy where he was living with my parents.) It’s giving a social worker or anyone else who sees him clear indications that my parents couldn’t handle the workload. As it was, caretaking was essentially working me into an early grave. (My standard health visits includes work ups for chronic depression, migraines, skin issues worsened by stress, among other things like hypertension, insomnia, and nutritional deficiencies. With all the running around I used to do, skipping meals and menstrual periods as well as standard physicals was my normal.) It shouldn’t have been but hind sight is 20-20 and I was in your shoes previously. That is, overworked and constantly stressed as one of the only people who could take care of my parents and brother.

I won’t rehash all of the sob story but my parents had a major health scare in the form of a heart attack where my brother essentially did nothing, and my mother called EMS with his psychoses going on in the background and attempting to do CPR. She linked me into the phone call and I was the there before the first responders performing CPR till my dad was transported away. It was the straw that broke the camels back. The cops (very familiar with our address) and the mental health team were dispatched as a precursor because they knew they might have to detain my brother to render aide to my dad. They saw how he (my brother) was living and the medical files on my parents, linked with how long (that is to say, how little) they had left in the tanks to take care of my brother FINALLY got him the help he needed. I still have nightmares and have been diagnosed with another mental illness CPTSD , which I can say I likely wouldn’t have if not for my brother. The tension of walking on eggshells with him was finally gone when the local health department and other clinical teams got what they needed to place him in permanent home care. Technically, there is no legal way for him to ever leave, and as sad as that may seem to some of the more lenient mental health advocates and community health partners out their (those who themselves have the same or less severe mental illness) I have made my peace with it. I haven’t been here in a while, getting a new job, set up for college and moving my parents to a new place hasn’t left me with much free time. My brother has had MANY MANY needed healthcare visits thanks to his mandatory admittance to standard care. From afar I have been able to negotiate him getting dental work and dentures which means he finally weighs enough for the first time in 10 years. His paranoid symptoms means he isn’t convinced the dentist, toothpaste, fluoride, or tooth brushes are necessary but through some convenient half truths he’s willing to believe, he has been fitted for dentures. He can eat real meals, 3 times a day from things he chooses. He is part of some long acting drug therapies that have stabilized the worst of his symptoms. He needed constant monitoring for type 2 diabetes that he is FINALLY getting, instead of having his feet slowly rot away due to neuropathy and refusal to engage in care. He’s working as a gardener and has started taking some remedial college courses for a degree in something. He is, like most SZ patients, gifted in so many ways but the larger negative symptoms and supports/things his SZ disallows him from doing, prevents him from doing anything more than the bare minimum by most peoples standards. I have had to come to peace with that and so have my parents. It’s another pet peeve of mine, but the “stern parenting approach” most people assume my parents should have taken or they assume they didn’t take has no bearing on his executive function now. His brain is literally fried and firing signals across areas that means he can’t interpret the world for what it is no matter how “firmly” we ask him to get something done. You know as well as I do, you gauge his mood, do what he can manage, and then try to avoid jostling the crazy person. As “ablest” as that sounds, or grim, it is the reality of caretaking for most people. I would never say these things to my brother but it doesn’t stop them from being true even if certain disability rights advocates would like to pontificate away the negative emotions. I realize the stigma of MI and other diseases is an important one to defray, far be it from me as for “But by the grace of God go I”. In a truly equal world, caretakers can have the negative emotions without being shouted down for daring to have them.

Far from encouraging people toward being compassionate it only sends the message that no one is listening to our struggles and the daily reality of caretaking is worthless. No one in the world wants to help because true goodness and mercy should ONLY be the solution to the worlds wrongs instead of offering real help like disability aide programs and daily help. (Which I know is what disability rights is supposed to stand for, but obviously, as I’ve written above, more people than I would like to admit have told me to “just keep going” rather than offering any physical help.)

In summary, talk to your siblings about his needs. Get some therapy for yourself and set a firm boundary about things you can or cannot help him do. Start documenting everything he struggles with and enlist family in documenting/being around when he needs care. They need to see what life is like for him and what toll it takes on you so that they can advocate with state services for what needs he may have as he ages. Get the local health authority involved. They are swamped but you have to keep fighting for whatever amounts of help they can give. Some day, you may not be here to help him God forbid, and doing something rather than waiting for the horror show to roll in one day is better than nothing. Having just said, “do something” I fully realize a burned out care giver doesn’t want to DO anything. Start with getting some good sleep, take one minute meditation breaks if that’s where we have to start. Make lists for everything. Organize the crap out of it because your brain is likely not firing on all cylinders with the amount of stress you have. Talk to a doctor and a mental health therapist of some sort or a counselor/diary if you really don’t have any other choices. Being able to look back on what you feel with a bit of distance will help. You can have your feelings, experience them, and let them be. Think small when it comes to getting your brother help, would a grocery delivery once a week make it possible for you to have time for yourself? Enlist a family member to set it up. You cannot accuse them of failing your brother (that will only lead to hurt feelings on everyone’s part rather than realizing this is you asking for less direct help than what you have already been giving your brother). Delegate tasks through meetings and definitely get some legal help to either set out a POA (Power of Attorney) for his medical care (if he is willing to cooperate in care choices) or at worst, looking into NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) help forums for estate/care/legal planning/involuntary commitment. They also have less invasive options like community “Club House” events where community volunteers help get SZ and other MI patients to social gatherings to learn skills, play games, and just do things with other people that they typically wouldn’t otherwise do. Your local department of mental health services likely has a list of resources and a planning/counseling part of the community that you may not be aware of/haven’t accessed. They can help provide things like food stamp set up, care visits, check in’s if you cannot get to your brother, and other basic services if his condition deteriorates. A counselor for yourself and for your brother (if he is amenable) means they will have a more solid baseline about what’s going on, if you can provide documentation and if they can visit both you and your brother. While he may be functional now, again, the idea is to get him with some form of a social care aide so that you or your family have familiarized him with these people before he suddenly doesn’t have you anymore. Making the care circle wider will take strain off of you and your family even if it takes a bit to get enacted. My brother destabilized as a result of my dad’s heart attack but if he wasn’t at least a little familiar with how his care appointments and hospital commitment would and wouldn’t go, things could have been much worse. He was sullen and resentful of being “kicked” out of the house, when in reality it is the reset my parents needed to finally take care of themselves, as well as the one I needed to take care of myself. Care giver burn out comes from burning off your own clothes in a snowstorm so someone else can stay warm. It seems good, right until the point that your family member dies of hypothermia and you go right alongside them.


Great advice and empathy here. You know of what you speak. Thank you.

I’m a mother, who has been trying to get others to notice he needs attention and is schitzophrenic. It seems the other kids are jealous of not getting as much care. However I’m strapped with time and funds caring for the
sick one.
Perhaps your parents dont want to tell you or him, thinking it would be a stigma…and are trying to act positive. Believe me they are happy you are
more normal an independent. It is very draining and depressing on the
parent of a mentally ill person.
My parents, never gave us anything once we were 18, and very little prior, we did it all on our own much like many kids prior when parents went
through the depression. Kids get a lot these days. Just try to be happy,
and try to not be hurt. Your parents are likely suffering, maybe guilt, or
hidding depression.

@C11 thank you. We just wish we knew what it was…like if the reasons for cutting us out of their lives (wrote a different post about that) has to do for certain with hiding SMI. It seems like from the descriptions I’ve provided & responses that something isn’t right with our sibling. Believe me, I’m SO incredibly grateful to have what I have, and I know how lucky we are. In the beginning when they stopped talking to us it was devastating as we figured they hated us for reasons unknown — we didn’t understand that some of the things were signs of SMI, we just thought they put my sibling on a pedestal and had decided that we were not worthy and our sibling fulfilled them. The grief at times was overwhelming. I just wish they had told us why they had to cut us out of our lives. I don’t know about all my siblings and relatives, but I know I would understand and do my best to support. I think they would too. Also, If SMI is in the mix and they’ve hidden it from everyone, it is so concerning what will happen when something happens to them. I know I still love them even if they don’t love us anymore. But maybe they do, and are just swallowed up with caring. I could see that as my sibling often overwhelmed me when growing up. It makes some sense, the idea that SMI has overtaken their lives and what we thought was just “worshiping” my sibling was actually trying to keep things together. But the first few years were terrible for me personally as I had to accept that I may never see them alive again, and that for reasons unknown they had stopped loving us, it was this incredible sorrow. Reaching out, over and over, begging for a response and getting none. The worst was seeing my children reach out and beg to talk their grandparents and be rebuffed. Then learning they did the same thing to other relatives too and it wasn’t just focally directed. That made things “easier” in a way to not feel it was targeted at a particular one, all the same, the hurt that other relatives have is significant…and we feel sad as it is our parents who hurt them. Maybe what they are dealing with is much worse than that, and so awful that all they can do is hide? It feels like any way you look at it, the future for them is really concerning. And my sibling’s child. What will happen to them?

I know, there is shame associated with it, and low self esteem maybe to the parents, who are also depressed and have a hard time reaching out.