Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Attitude to family

Hiya, I’m new to understanding schizophrenia. I want to know why schizophrenics are often hostile to family members and much less so to friends. Beyond the explanation that people in general tend to take stuff out on people closer to them, are there any other explanations?

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I agree that sz are or behave worse with family. That’s why I cant live with my sz stepson. He starts arguments with everyone in the house and the tension builds and builds. He even called the police on us because we asked him to smoke outside. I have noticed lately that he has gotten more and more agressive and disrespectful to us and everyone. Note though that he refuses any help, any meds, which is very sad cuz I think his life would be so much better than it is now. He is 32 and been off his meds for about 5 years. I think he has gone downhill so far and hard.

All my stepson wants is money to buy cigeretts and smoke where ever he wants. I feel he stalks our house hoping to break in if we leave. One thing I feel him staying with us wont work.

Alexe, I think it’s because people with this illness tend to develop paranoid delusions about the people they spend the most time with or have the most history with. These are the people who end up being the “triggers” or “targets”.

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Day-by-day, thanks for this. I’m beginning to understand now. That’s exactly what we feel as a family about my brother. Do you have any advice about what to do when we are being pushed away. I feel so desperately lost in all of this.

I feel extremely blessed as my sz son, at least at this point, is not hostile and he and I are closer than ever. Mind you, that hasn’t always been the case. He assaulted his dad and me July '17, then cut himself up into a bloody mess trying to commit suicide. He was on meds then, but apparently, not the right mix. He is ADHD in addition to SZ, so he was on Adderall at that time. I didn’t know it can cause agitation and violence. What a great drug! He and his dad have a somewhat less stellar relationship; his dad is bipolar. They seem to trigger each other. But overall things are more peaceful now than in the past which I attribute to the right meds for both of them. Small victories!


I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head…the people closest get the fallout. We are the most trusted ones in many cases. They turn to us for answers and when we have none or none they like, they feel betrayed.

With time though, the friends will see it too. I believe the term used is “showing” when they can hold it together for short periods of time.

This is common in brain illnesses. Son has paranoid sz and mom has Alzheimer dementia and have gone through it with both. I have a pretty thick skin so for the most part don’t take it personally. And on the days it gets to be too much I take a time out. I just say I am sorry I cant deal with anything ( I do not make it personal toward them) right now and need some space. Oddly enough they get that :slight_smile:

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I recommend Xavier Amador’s book "I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! Some really helpful tips on how to communicate. They are dealing with a terrifying paranoia. You need to convince him that you are “on his side” and that you can be trusted. Amador will help with ideas on how to do that.