Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Control and compliance issues

I’m trying to understand how common the theme of control is for others related to or living with a sz person. My wife and I are stuck in “I will do whatever I want, whenever I want” due to over-abused control by her parents as a child and now she can’t handle anything that appears to be any form of control over her. The end result is somebody who sleeps in, does almost no exercise, cooks, eats and naps- until asked to do something, then she flies off into another shouting fit. There is great intention to do things and many promises, just the end result is always that nothing much happening other than the usual routine. All children to some degree go through the temper-tantrum phase and grow out of it, however I have noticed that in this case a part of her subconscious has not grown out of it and therefore she resorts to the same child-like behaviors she had as a child when anything represents her parents control.

The main things of interest are the triggers and subsequent response patterns. For example, my wife has three defense modes- shouting, blaming and violence. The instant a control statement is received her voice will go up and loud noises will emanate from her for about half an hour regardless of anyone else talking. All conventional discussion stops. She will shout down everything, take anything said and turn it back as an attack, she will blame (me) for anything and everything and use physical actions to reinforce her statements. She is not a native English speaker and will do some of this in her native language which is a real indication to me that her mind is locked back in the past- I have no idea what she is saying unfortunately. These are exactly the habits she used against her parents and because they were successful, they became the default way of handling control, and over the years this appears to have morphed into sz type behaviors and beliefs that ‘aliens’ are trying to control her and various authority figures.

I would like to hear from anyone who had a difficult time getting compliance when their [now sz adult] child was around 2-3 years and was told to do things. I don’t mean to imply bad parenting or anything like that, just looking for any others who can relate today’s behavior to that of the child.

Hi. Just wondering…
How do you know for sure that the behaviors are due to early childhood experiences (“over-abused control by her parents”), as opposed to the illness itself? As a parent, I see these behaviors, but I didn’t see them when my child was young.


Thanks for your reply.

She has always had this behavior for as long as I have known her (16 years) and we used to regularly talk about this as a response to the way she was treated. The difference is that in recent times the number of things she is capable of doing without the shouting routine being triggered has drastically reduced to the point where she now does very little. I can’t say for sure this is related to the way she was treated, however I do think it is highly likely based on observation of the behavior and knowing her history.

The reduction in capacity and increase in incidences of shouting is definitely related of sz, however I am interested in finding out if there is a common connection between how others learned to handle control as children and sz, or if it is just coincidental.

Have you guys thought that she may have borderline personality disorder?

And, this is going to sound awful, and I realize it’s because you truly love her & want to help her, but do you think you’re enabling her by indulging her behavior? Not completely of course, but maybe you’re not really helping her by how you’re reacting to how she acts.

If she is retreating back to childhood, then think about how you would treat a child who was having temper tantrums. The last thing you’d want to do is reinforce it with any type of positive or negative attention. The best thing to do is walk away, let them burn through it, and come back when they’re acting better. Of course, that’s with a child.

Finally, do you know for a fact that all of what she’s saying really happened? My son has a lot of false memories that he believes 100% - I’m sure he could pass a lie detector with flying colors because he is not lying. Even though they didn’t happen, he believes they did without a single doubt.

If you haven’t already tried this, maybe you need a therapist who’s very experienced in this kind of thing so that they can coach you through how you should react to her to calm the situation a little.

I don’t mean to discount anything you’ve said. It’s just that when you’re in the heat of things it’s hard to get perspective, and those are my ideas as an impartial third party.


Schizophrenia does not have a psychological origin/ etiology: see #3. The rest of the website has current medical and scientific information about the illness.

Issues of control and compliance occur during many childhoods; if every person who encountered control and compliance issues during childhood developed sz, there would probably be more like 50 - 80% of the population developing the illness rather than 1%.

Scientists are trying to determine the differences between schizophrenia and PTSD:

1 Like

This is very true. I have been working on this approach for a few days now in that when she gets triggered into child-mode, I let her run through the process and do my best to not get caught up in responding to it. It is very clear that I am representing her parents as there are very precise actions on my part that trigger very predictable outcomes. I discovered that the end result after running through her emotional response (about half an hour) is to have a little cry. Just one tear for a few seconds, and that seems to be the point where her adult mind makes a small connection between the past and today’s situation. I’m hoping that if we can make enough of these little connections then the fear response will no longer have any power over her.

I am seeing small steps towards improvement in that the violent anger which used to be the first response for many years has now subsided so we go straight to the sulky hurt response. This seems to involve immediately calling the police so we had them out again yesterday. They were very understanding and supported my efforts to video record every interaction as what she says and what I say are wildly different. They also recognised that the mental health system is completely overloaded and I shouldn’t expect great things from them.

The thing is that the child having the temper tantrum isn’t real, it is a product of trauma and therefore a habitual response, but as there is no time-base in a habitual response it will continue to carry out the predetermined actions whenever triggered until the adult mind can make the connection and release the outdated responses.

I am 100% confident that what happened in her childhood did so. Her father has apologised several times for his part in it and while the mother is still defiant, she fortunately well out of the picture now. Violence is still a big part of that culture and a number of her childhood peers went to prison for various things.

The diagnosis of sz is from three psychiatrists at different times so not mine. She may well have a variety of conditions but I am not the right person to make that call. I’d love to find a therapist who has experience with this however so far we have not found that person despite trying half a dozen or so practitioners. We don’t have a medical insurance system like in USA so either we go on a very long waiting list for state funded counseling or pay large amounts for private.

Thank you, I appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks for your reply. I don’t want to be argumentative but there is so much wrong with this statement, and indeed a lot of what is on that website that I can’t really accept it as anything more than a pacifier. I have seen similar statements on websites about autism and came to the conclusion that they are made primarily to appease the fears of parents struggling to come to terms with their child’s behaviour and it is reassuring to be told there is no connection between parenting skills and mental health.

Simplistic statements that lump many thousands of different things under one umbrella term and draw conclusions from it invariably end up in lightweight answers. Any statement trying to connect “childhood abuse” to “schizophrenia” misunderstands that the two things don’t exist other than umbrella terms for a wide variety of similar things. Using examples such as holocaust survivors not producing “epidemics of sz” only serve to show the somewhat limited analysis behind the statements.

Hey guys! I am new here and just trying to get some help dealing with my 27 yr old daughter who has bad schizophrenia among other personality disorders. I am just about at the end of my rope :frowning:

Hello, welcome here.

Welcome! This is a great forum for asking questions and sharing. There are many of us here who can relate. When was your daughter first diagnosed? Does she live with you? Are you the sole caregiver? Any other children?

Thank you so much! She was diagnosed in 2014, she does live with me, I am her sole caregiver and I have one other child, a son, who is older than her. She has been in and out of the hospitals in our area over the past 2-3 years so many times I have stopped counting. All they do is change her medicine. They never keep her longer than 7-8 days. She is NEVER any better EVER. The talking to “somebody” NEVER" stops. She is happy, bubbly then next minute, she is cussing me out! They should keep her longer than 7-8 days!! They should make sure the medicine is working? I am trying to get her in somewhere to get her medicine really worked out. I have just about had it.