Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Dealing with delusions concerning family friends

I agree. That’s why the best thing we ever did was to make sure we can put ourselves behind locked doors when the yelling and ranting is happening. Believe me, we listened to all that for months before we just said screw it, these delusions and the accusations aren’t going to go away. That’s when we started saying “It didn’t happen” and we started removing ourselves from the conversations as soon as possible.

For us, nothing changed until our son was put on medication, through monthly injections. Even then, when stressors hit (or there’s a full moon haha), some of the old delusions still come out. We’re still in the early stages of recovery, but things are getting better and better by the week.

2 Likes

Hi Presence. I imagine this must be the most stressful and upsetting thing you’ve ever had to deal with, especially since it involves innocent people and it’s such a disturbing topic. Believe me. I know how you feel. You’ll get through this. Here are some thoughts based on my experience.

First, there’s a good chance your son will not “shake” this aweful theme of delusional thinking, no matter how many people contradict his accusations. He might even come up with paranoid reasons as to why those people are not admitting his truth (ex. They’re part of “the conspiracy”). During some periods, it may seem like the delusions are going or gone, but they’ll probably re-emerge during a stressful moment.

Second, you may need to mentally prepare yourself for the possibility that this theme of paranoid delusional thinking could also eventually involve you too. I hope this doesn’t happen, but it could. I know this sounds horribly sad, but I would strongly suggest you make sure everyone, including you, knows not to attempt to have any physical contact with your son (ex. Hugging) without his explicit permission.

Third, if your son meets with any doctors, nurses, counselors, etc., I would not only recommend you warn them ahead of time about his fears/paranoia surrounding his own personal safety, but I would make sure there is always someone else in the room at all times. Your son may currently be talking about past experiences, but there’s a good chance he’s paranoid that something new is about to happen to him.

At this point, all you can really do is try to be pro-active, to prevent more damage from happening and hopefully not fuel the fire of this delusional theme. You’ll get through this. For us, it’s happening through medication. Some day, it’ll be a horrible distant memory. I’m looking forward to that for us and you.

1 Like

Day-by-Day,
It’s good to get such a clear and even doable perspective. Why hadn’t I thought of that? I ask myself - when the stress is present it is so hard to think things through. The PTSD of it all can really fry my brain.
To tell you the truth my son did include me when all this started and I realize he still thinks it may be true. When he told me, I very firmly told him, it did not happen. That I couldn’t have even imagined doing such things. That, so far, has stopped him from going there. I was very distraught. And would be beside myself if he goes there again.
He is not in any treatment at this time. has anosagnosia, of course. I actually agree with you completely, as sad as that is.

It is a medical necessity to keep my son from feeling intruded upon, and others safe.
My firm hope is that this will one day be a distant memory.
May your journey with your son find a smooth and steady road.

1 Like

That is a very good statement to make. Thanks.

My son is 31 and believes my husband and I physically and sexually abused him as a child. He calls the police and tells them this and wants us put in jail. He tells the few friends that he has this too. It breaks our hearts because we love him so much. He has nothing to do with us anymore except for angry phone calls or texts.

1 Like

Lmr,
This could so easily happen to any of us.

I feel your pain.
May there be healing…
Blessings to you and yours.

3 Likes

Dr Amador’s opinion is that discussing the delusions doesn’t make them worse. Check out his videos online at youtube. He does think that arguing with the delusions makes you a part of the delusion at that moment. He is considered to be an expert on dealing with people with scz who don’t have insight. Dr Amador also says that the only way they will stay on the meds is if they decide to take them in the first place.

What I think, is that you have to read all sorts of sources and figure out what works best for your family member. My son does respond to Amador’s “agree to disagree”. Repeating back what he just said and addressing the emotion just frustrates him - I think mine has too much cognition for that to work for him. Others on the board here have said the same thing regarding cognition. One of my NAMI friends has been succeeding with Amador methods recently. She says when her son is in a “state” he’s not psychotic, more bipolar manic anger, he actually calms down when she uses Amador methods - but it has not helped her get him closer to taking meds.

The reality testing done in cognitive behavior therapy is nice and subtle. Instead of challenging the delusion you reply in a way that appears to be positive and make a comment that might cause them to question the reality of their delusion. One example I read featured a person who believed they were working undercover for the government. The therapist’s response was something like “I hear that pays very well, you must enjoy that salary”.

As Day-by- Day mentioned, my son’s doctor uses her method. When he mentions struggling with something delusional in session, she tells him she has meds that she believes would help him. When my son goes on about his delusions regarding his dad and I, she reminds him of things he has said in session that counter that delusion.

Personally, I think the worst thing we can do is escalate a situation when its happening. Hence the standing sideway, staying a distance away, not touching them, not looking directly in their eyes advice. Some caregivers argue with the delusions quite emotionally. Its not real, its a delusion, that’s what makes it not real. Caregivers need to keep themselves from getting caught up emotionally in the delusions.

I did talk to my son’s doctor again this week, she is seriously concerned about how much focus my son’s delusions have on his dad. The rock incident has us adding new safety precautions here at home.

4 Likes

Here too. Feels you are just playing a game with him. But if I really don’t get the point he is trying to make (or see it his way) he is ok with what he sees as my lack of understanding. :slight_smile: I just take whatever works to keep us communicating.

2 Likes

I’m glad the doctor is showing some concern.

1 Like

His doctor also said that had I lived two counties away from where I do, his action with the rock would have qualified him for being detained in a hospital. Some of the new money the state has spent has gone only to the larger population counties. Supposedly, the other counties can send their people to those counties for care. I need to find out why this isn’t happening with my county.

I thought the basics agreed to everywhere were threatening to commit harm to themselves or someone else. How can the rock not count as intending to commit harm? Somehow not in my county.

2 Likes

It was a very big rock!!

I’ve been reviewing the Dr. Amador’s videos - thanks so much for the reminder. Yes - his LEAP program keeps the mi person from isolating completely. After all, if we don’t talk to them, and listen, who will? I don’t think anyone can get better in a vacuum.

They are good videos, my favorite has the interplay with the audience member where he tries to convince her she is mentally ill to explain anosognosia. Have you seen that one yet?

The hunk of granite thrown at you definitely should have qualified as danger to others.

1 Like

saw two - including one on his LEAP page. Then one at Cambridge NAMI with two audience members reflecting. Would like to take the 1 1/2 hour LEAP program. Free and online. It’s the only thing that really makes sense for the long term at our house.

The video where he tries to convince an audience member she is mentally ill (as an example) really helped me understand anosognosia.

LEAP, at the very least, gives us a starting point for conversations with our loved ones with scz. Without it I would have continued to attempt rational conversations with my son.

1 Like

His psychiatrist is really concerned about my husband being in serious danger. Really, really hoping I am wrong about this moon thing coming up.

Talking about the delusions will help you too as you’ll be a little more aware of the thoughts he is struggling with. I’m not saying to indulge the delusions, but at the same time be careful dismissing them out of hand. As thereishope said, sometimes there is a seed of truth in these thoughts that has been magnified, taken out of context or become something much bigger than it was. It then takes on a life of its own. My brother confused a memory he had of us as little children innocently play acting some adult fooling around we’d seen on tv. While we weren’t old enough to understand it really, I think as he got older he felt ashamed and then when he was in the earlier stages of his schizophrenia that shame turned into fear that he had actually abused me. Luckily he asked if it was real and while it was an upsetting conversation I did my best not to get emotional so he wouldn’t think I was upset because it had happened but I just wasn’t admitting it. I very clearly and simply told him no, that did not happen. That I loved him and he would never be capable of something like that, and especially would never hurt me. He didn’t seem completely convinced so I repeated it. It was ok in the end but it was because I could deny it because I was there and could recount my memory of the situation that he’d gotten confused. That’s where it will be harder for you to deny some of his delusions that involve others as ‘you weren’t there.’ If you are able to talk to the people involved you could tell them the nature of the delusions and explain what he believes has happened so they hear it from someone, not accusing them, but preparing them for a possible confrontation. They then could try telling him it didn’t happen and be definitive about it. ‘That did not happen to me.’ ‘It did not happen.’ If he won’t accept it they could try repeating the denial and firmly stating that they no longer want to continue talking about it…something maybe…’I don’t want to talk about this anymore because it didn’t happen, I would never lie about something like that happening if it did and it is becoming upsetting that you won’t believe me.’ I’m not sure if this helps, this is a hard one as he is convinced it is true and trying to convince him otherwise will just send you round and round in circles.

1 Like

I know it’s not economical or fun, but maybe just leave again if things are not going well?

1 Like

I think we need to stay to reduce possible damage to our home and to maybe have a chance to get him arrested for a shot at meds.

2 Likes

Hi…
I’m so sorry for what you and your family are going through. My Son is 24 and has paranoid schizophrenia. He has the same delusions about his older Brother and his Dad. It’s ruined his relationship with my 29 yr old Son. He is the one trigger and it breaks my heart. I totally understand and wish you all the best.

1 Like