Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Do family members think we are failures?

Do family members of people with SZ think we are faulty or a failure? I sometimes think my parents ask themselves “what went wrong? How did he end up so mentally screwed up?” I feel the outside world thinks of me and others with SZ as “the defects,” or the disposable crazies.

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i dont give a damn what they think…i only give a damn to what i think or more importantly what I feel or even more importantly what my heart says or even more and more importantly what my conscioussness says

This is a huge fear of mine, or guilt, anyway. I mainly worry about my mom having something to brag about to her friends. But my mom has said in so many words that she thinks I have accomplished a lot with the cards stacked against me, and that she is very proud.

So don’t assume they’re disappointed! It might not be the case.

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Darn good attitude.

No, just the opposite.

My family doesn’t do that, but sometimes I hit myself with the feeling that I am a failure. It’s not like my life is totally without accomplishments, though.

Just like people with diagnoses, all family members are different.

I did go through a phase of feeling ashamed of myself when my family member flunked out of university. I felt I was the failure as a parent.

Sometimes my concern about debilitating aspects of the illness seems to translate as criticism; I just don’t know how to communicate properly. I am trying to learn.

What I have come to understand is that judging myself and/ or my family member by status quo standards of success is a way of making us suffer for being different. This is social conditioning that has been internalized and is extremely unhelpful, even painful.

Right now I would like my son to stop measuring himself by capitalist yardsticks like “success” and “failure”. And descriptions like “defective” belong to neo-Nazi thinking. Those kinds of ideas are the biggest failure in humanity. I love my son. I like his company. I wish he could accept his illness, keep taking the medicine he needs, and stop relapsing. I am scared he will die before me. I don’t give a toss if I have to support him till I die. But I want him to accept treatment because when he’s treated he does smile and does enjoy life. That’s all I care about. I wouldn’t describe myself as “successful”, by the way. And I have diabetes so if he’s “defective”, so am I.

Sorry, I just realized that sounded angry, but I’m not angry I’m upset because he’s in full-on psychosis and I can’t get in touch with him.


Dear Hatty, I hope your son comes through the episode quickly and safely and that you find him soon. The worry is incredible.

I also think that stigma makes the illnesses worse and is one of the reasons treatment is so difficult to access and “comply” with.

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I try not to pay attention to the “normal” people of this world. The less I know, the higher my functioning. What I am hoping ends, though, is the discrimination & judgment we have to endure.

I already feel like I am being judged 24/7 by “other-wordly” beings and the judgment I face on top of that from people of this planet is a joke in comparison. On Earth, here, people are highly imperfect & filled to the brim with errors themselves. If people on Earth here have a problem with me, it’s probably an error or insecurity on their part, not mine.

There’s virtually no good reason to paint people with SZ in a negative light. The people that do are probably the lowest of low out there and deserve to be fully ignored.

Every family wants the best for their children - and wish you didn’t have health problems (physical and mental).

Only the most simplistic of thinking classifies people into two buckets: “success” and “failure” - after a certain age I think most people realize that life is a lot more complex and varied than that.

Everyone is a success and failure at different things at different times in their life. Nobody’s life is perfect.

As one of our previous moderators used to say “Just Keep on, keeping on…” with effort, everyone’s life can get better over time.

Family members generally are not that judgemental.

I liked your description of not looking at it in that perspective. Its only hard sometimes to accept people still love you when its hard to love yourself and accept yourself for who you are. One of my counselors said we are already perfect as our being even with are faults, mistakes and troubles. Those are part of our perfection. And I also hope your son does his own internal work to better him. Just keep loving him. Its horrible to have the illness but it must also be just as hard in its own way to love someone who has it.

Just a quick note. The idea that people can be divided into simplistic categories like “success” or “failure” is what psychologists call “Black and White” thinking, or “all or nothing” thinking. Its a very unhealthy and innaccurate way to look at people.

Here is a short 2 minute video on the topic.

Yes, I think the self-stigma is the most destructive thing at the moment for my son. Nobody in our family has rejected him in any way. Everyone actively invites him, visits him, calls him. In our community people have found him job after job after job. My friends are encouraging me to find a wife for him. Not everyone stigmatizes. But he was only diagnosed 2 years ago, so I suppose we need to sit out the denial phase. I am just getting desperate that he might not make it through. I am so worried about him.

yea i think about that to a lot. but not to sound like a parent but u know if they love you. they might think that sometimes. but they wont care cause you are their child. like my dad.(who i live with) he just worries about me a lot. he will text me when he is at work and ask if i am OK. witch is fine. but just try to put your self in their shoes if you were a dad or mom of a kid who has SZ. you would think were did i screw up. but if you know the history of SZ you know the parent had nothing to do with it. so don’t dwell on something like that.

Well getting to acceptance is important I find but also its still good others still accept him. That is a very important aspect of my life since I’m only 20 and still want people to accept me for me and want to include me. I find the more I socialize the more I can detach from my illness, which isn’t true for all people but for me I like having a social life even though mine isn’t great right now. I find if I “surround myself with myself” -Yes, then my thoughts become very abstract and toxic and the illness comes on stronger. I need people in my life to keep my thoughts grounded and have others thoughts to relate to.

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My roommate has SZ. We’re not “related”, but no I don’t think she’s a failure. In my view, if you have SZ the only way you can really “fail” is to not address your problems at all. And even that may be a temporary state; failure is final, and nothing is final.

If I did have a close relative with SZ, I think I’d be proud of whatever accomplishments they made in spite of it.

I worry that my mom thinks I’m a failure though. I’m 24, and by the time she was that age she’d graduated college, had me, and joined a chiropractic practice. I haven’t graduated, gotten married or had kids, or made any kind of deposit on an actual career.
And I don’t even have SZ to blame. If my mom thinks I’m a failure, it’s because of choices I made, not situations I was forced into by illness.
I think everyone has this fear, honestly. Anyone who cares what their parents think, anyway.

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Thats another thing I need to relate to better to is how my parents view me.

I have never thought of my younger son as a failure, I attributed the failure to me as a mother, single, emotinally wrecked from an alcoholic family background, no skills, no tools in my toolbox.

When he was a young adolescent and later an older adolescent I was strongly concerned with his pot smoking - he smoked alot. I thought our acromonious relationship the discord was all caused by me. My son’s behavior resembled his maternal grandfather(an alcoholic;the family doctor was concerned my father was self-medicating with alcohol, doctor had strong inkling my father was undiagnosed manic/depressive aka bipolar; my father died from alcoholism 10 years ago.) - specifically his thought processes - stinking thinking; So,I attempted to correct his thinking, motivated by fear that he would go do the family road of drug & alcohol addiction. I had a difficult relationship with my father; I thought I was the common denominator in both relationships, causing problems. My son was first hospitalized at 15 & diagnosed with sz; I was bereft when I heard the diagnosis; all I heard was about the diagnosis that is a life conditon and there was no hope. That was 9 years ago, been through ALOT - not pretty AND I NEVER considered my son a failure; I have been very frustrated by the illness, how my family, the community, some of the medical community, and law enforcement has treated my son and me.

My son is so courageous, brilliant, witty, capable, but has struggled with this disease, and still has difficulty with the meds, plus staying consistent with therapy. This week has been incredibly challenging, but I am grateful for him, that he is in my life, my son -A GIFT - both of my sons.

Now, the rest of the world, some are truly compassionate & some are not. Not fair, not right, it is not just.

I know this: love and trust is the environment - the womb where I/you/us hold space in which our loved ones and friends grow and heal, are transformed, can recover.

I have three children. One of them graduated from college and my youngest is on her way. My middle is the one who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. I know he feels like a failure because he compares himself to his siblings and family members have made the “do something with your life” comments all too often. They don’t understand and I’m tired of trying to make them. Before I understood this illness better, I know I made some brazen comments which I wish I could take back. “Let’s move forward” and “make some goals” come to mind. It’s just so hard to remember how motivated and talented he was (and still is). I want my kid back, but that just isn’t going to happen so I’m learning to love the new him and making sure he knows it, because everyone else has bailed on him, and that pisses me off so much. It’s just made me realize what kind of person I don’t want to be. This experience has made me more compassionate towards others, and once things improve a little bit, I think we’re going to be okay, just in a new way. But he will never be a failure to me. He’s still sweet and he’s still funny and I love him.