Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Communication and Phone Troubles

I have been dating my boyfriend who has schizophrenia for 4 years now. He has had trouble making a firm commitment to me. We do not live together. He is very kind when he visits and is affectionate but in-between seeing eachother he does not call and in December of 2019 he changed his phone number but did not give me the new number. He won’t say why he won’t. But it is getting difficult to call his workshop(his family owns) to reach him. It has been just really hard the phone and communication the whole time. I don’t know what to do, if I give him too much space, he kind of disappears. I know I will see him but I is difficult how we lead such separate lives.I am wondering if schizophrenia can cause issues with communication and the phone and how this issue can be solved.

Some common delusions with technology:

I am being tracked
My phone calls are being listened to
There are other voices in the phone
The people on the phone are out to get me
The camera on my phone is always on and sending via internet
Technology is hurting my body (transmitting signals)

Have you tried writing letters instead?

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Other more mundane obstacles to phone use are:

Having trouble keeping up with phone or carrying it and periodically losing it or charging cables.

Inadvertently (or intentionally) putting phone in silent mode, or otherwise not hearing it ring.

Forgetting voicemail password or how to work it.

Forgetting to charge phone.

Nervous of performance anxiety on phone calls.

Dislike of being interrupted by phone calls.

I know I’ve committed most of these with greater regularity than I care to admit. My brother with bipolar disorder is pretty much useless with his. He didn’t adopt it until quite late, but his landline was horribly unreliable, and he finally reluctantly got one. He still calls me on his landline exclusively.

I wouldn’t take it personally, some people are just bad with telephones and communication in general—SMI or not.

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I think that one of the most important things for you to know is that the reason for his lack of communication very likely has nothing to do with you. My son (was diagnosed w. schizophrenia about 10 years ago) has changed his phone-number more often then I can count. Sometimes the reason is to “hide” so nobody knows his number and sometimes it’s because he did not have money to fill up his phonecard and it was not possible to renew - but often it’s for some practical reason, like loosing the phone or misplacing it. But also, it is requires huge efforts for my son to maintain contact with his closest family (including me) and he has lost all his old friends. What has helped me (which ofcourse is different since I’m a mother - and you a girlfriend), is to make a commitment to myself to call my son everyday - so I’m responsible for maintaining the contact. Often he also calls me several times a day, but when during the times when his positive symptoms are very active, or if he is not taking his meds or during psychotic preriods, it’s definitely me who needs to take the initiative for contact. I wish you all the best and hope that you both find a way to love each other despite the challenges.

I noticed the more paranoid my love one is the more paranoid he would be about phones and other pieces of technology. Even so far as to not want a phone at all. Sometimes this is a sign things are going down hill and they are going into psychosis and may need a med change or at least to see their doctor. This is a very difficult illness and I would recommend for someone to seriously consider what a future with someone with this illness will look like especially if they are only dating. I would imagine lack of communication would be hurtful in a relationship. I hope the communication improves.