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Communication problems. need advice


#1

I’m new to this website/page and hoping to find information to help me to communicate better with my daughter who was dx’d years ago with paranoid scz and more recently with schizoaffective disorder. She has always lived at home and is now in her 40’s. She is very good about taking her meds and she has never been hospitalized, although she has been psychotic in the past. She keeps a lot of things to herself and stays in her room most of the time. I suppose my husband and I have helped her too much over the years and not helped her to become more independent. Now that she is an adult, we seem to argue a lot and it’s always because she says we don’t listen to what she says. I honestly think that I do listen to her, but I’m human and make mistakes or forget. She believes that we don’t listen or allow her to complete a thought, that we interrupt her. She says the same about her fiancé and her counselor. It is such a frustrating situation! This is a very simplified version of the problem but I’ve run out of ideas an hope someone has had a similar situation.
Let me give you one example–she saw a nutritionist who gave her some recipes to use for health issues she has. The recipes are for one week’s worth of b’fast or lunch. I have asked her to help me to make the dishes, which she has no problem with. The problem is with scheduling the time to do it. We set a day to cook, then when that day comes, she gives a reason why she can’t do it (not feeling well, etc), so we don’t do the cooking that day. I usually go ahead and cook after a few days of putting it off. Today we were discussing the cooking and she said that last week I went ahead and cooked when she had told me she would help me. She doesn’t know why I went ahead without her. I don’t know either because I don’t recall her saying she would help me that day. These instances happen often and I don’t know what’s actually happening. She insists that I didn’t listen or hear her say that she would help.
Do any of you have advice or processes of communication that would help me? Not sure if I’m making sense here!


#2

You’re making complete sense.

With the illness, for some people who have it, time seems to kind of change.

I can ask my family member a question and it might take minutes or sometimes days for a response.

In her mind, she really did plan to help you. You understand that food spoils and you might as well cook it before it does. Just two dramatically different interpretations of the same event.

I guess my advice would be to set a calendar date for shopping and one for cooking. When everyone is getting along and content, explain that the food needs to be cooked in a certain time frame and write those days on the calendar. Then, if she doesn’t feel up to cooking with you, let her know it’s cooking day and invite her to keep you company in the kitchen while you cook. She might join in on cooking. She might sit quietly at the table. She might stay in her room.

I don’t think there could be anything more paradoxical than teaching an adult to be independent.

I think the communication difficulties you’ve come up against are just part of the illness. Calendars and written schedules seem to mitigate for us.


#3

Thank you for your response. You have validated some of my thoughts. We have been using a calendar/schedule for most things and it helps. I will add cooking to the list!
My current strategy when she doesn’t follow through is to reschedule but I believe you are saying to just ask her to join me as I cook? I’m not sure how she would react to that but it’s worth a try! Thank you so much!


#4

Yes, I am suggesting - with no idea whether or not this would work - putting cooking on the calendar.