My son was diagnosed about 3 years ago. He is doing pretty well now. We were talking and he was telling me about how he recalls his first hospitalization. He was telling me about an individual that he got into a fight with and had some difficulties with while he was in treatment center. When it finally dawned on me he was talking about himself. Question is should I tell him?
I would say to let it slide. In my opinion there isn’t anything to be gained by attempting to “clarify”’his memory. Seems as though he is possibly doing some sort of processing. I would go with the LE of LEAP, Listen and Empathize.
I’d let it slide. Not sure what you think it might accomplish at this point. From experience skilled therapists are rarely confrontational or blunt, you really have to press them to get their opinion on events or get them to tell you what to do. Very much the same tenets you get from LEAP. I think people have unrealistic expectations of changing people’s minds in a lasting way by telling them things, rather than listening and having them work things out for themselves. And I think this is doubly so for the SMI versus the “worried well”.
This isn’t to say you can’t hint, or say that’s interesting or fascinating etc. and encourage them to work things out for themselves. I guess what I’m saying is you can let it slide in a nuanced way, and if it comes up again ask questions that show you are listening and empathizing.
There’s also an element of duality, that your ill self is/was a different version of you than your recovered self. In much the way “voices” or delusions are forms of personification of internal ideas or conflicts. They sometimes seem a form of protection of the ego self from elements of the psyche that are distasteful or out of touch with the ego norm. Personally I feel unless you’re a trained psychotherapist, these are difficult areas to navigate and better left to professionals as what you describe borders on the difficult subject of disassociation.
Agreed. MGBrane is always helpful to my ongoing understanding. As my child seems to improve, I’m so tempted to say, ‘See? I told you that the SZ was doing all of this and now can’t you see all this hell we’ve been through and why we had to call the police all the time and blah, blah, blah…’.
But that’s not really helpful. My son will process his history and our journey on his own. Or maybe he won’t. But my job is not to explain or clarify. Some of that is undoubtedly born from my own sense of guilt. Trying to clarify why we had to put him in these psych units, against his will.
So MG you helped remind me today. Great advice. Listen. Empathize. And then my favorite L… Love. Just keep loving him. And loving myself.
Thanks Sando, and I agree love is an important element to caregiving and sometimes the most loving thing to do at times is forgive and let go.
I’ll add because you remind me of this, when you realize you were mistaken after delusional and psychotic episodes you can become embarrassed and ashamed of your behavior. That is if you remember it at all. Either way you are at a loss to make an adequate apology or explain your behavior to others and often even yourself. If you have shame about it, you feel bad enough on your own without reminding, and if you don’t you aren’t likely to listen anyway.
My take on this is somewhat different. Looking at the past, reflecting on past behavior I see it as part of the healing, as we construct a better future. It is not going on and on on past behavior, recrimination, nor meaculpa. It is just something that happened and belongs to the past.
All good advice. Thanks to all. . I have not said anything to contradict what he was saying. I did ask some general questions about what happened as one would before I realized what was going on. Fortunately nothing that “painted himself in a corner” to answer. I see that’s something I’ll need to be more aware of and sensitive towards. Since it could be something he is trying to work out because he’s brought it up a few times now.
Let it slide. I think creating a new relationship based on truth and trust is imperative. I wonder if raising this past issue may damage tgat
I’d also let it slide, but if he continues to bring it up you might as questions without contradicting him.“How did that make you feel?” “Why do you think that is still bothering you.” I recommend that only because if he continues to bring it up, it’s important to him.
First of all, I want to say that it is wonderful and important that you have been there for your son. It is good to listen and empathize letting him express his thoughts and feelings. He needs to be heard and accepted where he was at that time. I’m wondering if he is an adult and is he living in your home?
As a mother I want to fix everything for my daughter but I’m realizing I am not and can not be her therapist. She needs her own therapist to work through her issues.
You may want to ask (?), at a time you think it’s appropriate, to just say to your son “I’m curious about the incident in the hospital you mentioned. Tell me more.” My daughter will often tell me she doesn’t know why but will talk more about how she feels or thinks.
But again I would mostly encourage him to work with a trained therapist. I know my daughter’s hospital experiences have had its own injuries and struggles she needs to work through.
I tried a few times to correct my daughter’s memory, and I will never do it again. No good came from it.
So glad you decided to let it slide.
It doesn’t often work out well on the reciprocal side either. From time to time I try to correct my mother’s “misremembering” of certain incidents. Misinterpreting intent of certain actions and mixing emotional memories with factual memories can lead to misunderstandings. I’ve even shown her “receipts” (I hang on to medical bills and release papers etc) about some of the sequencing of events leading to involuntary hold and hospitalization, and yet she continues with her version of events. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree or respect the way things feel, rather than the facts of matters.
You made me smile wryly @Maggotbrane , yes, you are right, it can go both ways. Agreeing to disagree is a great tool.