Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Brother Doesn't Believe He has a Mental Illness

Good morning, all. I’ve posted a couple times before. My younger son (17) is the one with sz. Older son, 19, does not believe his brother has any mental illness. He has moved out of the house because he believes his brother is dangerous. My husband and I met our older son yesterday at a restaurant and I had been missing him terribly. When we got there, he was in a foul mood. The whole visit was spent complaining about his brother, what a “loser” he is, on and on. I tried explaining (AGAIN) that his brother has a mental illness that has been diagnosed by mental professionals and that he needs to separate his brother from his illness. For instance, the lack of personal hygiene. This hasn’t been his brother’s behavior since birth. This is something relatively new since the illness came on. I found the visit to be very depressing and I am reluctant to see my older son again any time soon. He also feels angry that our local police won’t do anything about his brother and he feels that they are not “doing their job.” Again, I tried to explain their position, but everything I said, I felt that it was falling on deaf ears. I feel he is resentful that his brother lives at home while he has to “struggle” living away from home; however, this was his choice. Has anyone else gone through this, and if so, how did you handle it? Or if you have suggestions, I would be glad to hear them. The two brothers do not speak anymore, though younger brother expresses he misses his brother. Older brother is adamant he wants nothing to do with his brother, doesn’t care if he was hurt in car wreck, etc. Terrible! I feel torn between my two sons, one of which certainly needs me more than the other one.


Is your younger son on meds?

Yes, he is. Has been on a variety but at present, he’s on Abilify, Lamictal, Wellbutrin and Lexapro.

I think your older son is having a pretty typical reaction. Siblings tend to be less forgiving and some actually blame the parents for causing the situation by coddling/favoritism/permissiveness the sibling with mi. Personally, i think its a form of denial. Our lawyer has a sibling with bipolar and actually made a comment that sounded like he still resented his brother and felt his parents were still handling the situation with his brother poorly. Mind you, the brother with bipolar takes his meds and works to support himself. Where we would say well done, the sibling still believes he could do a better job of parenting his brother.

No need to feel torn, its okay to love them as much as they both need. I like that you have supported his decision to live elsewhere. If I were you, I wouldn’t suggest to my older son that his feelings are wrong or suggest that he " be nice" to his brother. You and your husband have your hands full, nice he can take care of himself, a shame he doesn’t realize what an advantage that is in life.

Hard to believe that we have no way out of these situations ourselves. He may never quite get it, or he may come to it. Other families I know are never able to have their children over together for holidays. Two of my friend’s sons won’t come to her house whenever the sister with mi is present. The sister has an illness long habit of filing police reports of sexual abuse against her brothers.

We just all deal with it the best we can.

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I would let your older son go his way, it is only his fault, your younger son needs you and he is surely more reasonable… Maybe someday he will open his eyes.

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My 21 yo son was diagnosed drug induced sz 6 months ago. My 17 yo son doesnt understand it, wont learn about it and has no empathy or sympathy for his older brother. He makes statements like “tell insertname to quit being retarded…” and my 17 yo will get really protective of me if 21 yo starts acting up. I try to explain to 17 yo how 21 yo brain isnt working right anymore. Its almost a losing battle. If 21 yo tries at all to tease or joke w 17 yo, the 17 yo acts almost disgusted. Its so sad. They never were best friends but they were close. I am thinking of family counseling? My husband really doesn’t understand the sz at all. Ugh. Good luck. :heart:

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I forced my spouse to go to NAMI Family to Family 12 Week educational course. I attended it a few years ago.

It’s really good to get the family educated, if possible.

17 is not the most thoughtful age; brain development is incomplete. Maybe when 17 yo matures, he will learn and be more understanding.


This may take some time I have 4 children 2 girls, 2 boys the youngest has schizoaffective and his. Rather is very close to him but there have been times when the older brother just gets frustrated with the youngest and his skewed thinking. It is an awful disease we just do the best we can fortunately the youngest is taking his meds and is stable for now