Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Do you ever feel condemned to a life of loneliness because of your sz loved one?

Hey. I feel like I’ll be lonely for the rest of life. Do you ever feel like your sz loved one (I must confess I hate mine right now but it shall pass) sabotages every other relationship you have?
In my case it’s my mother and I don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know she destroyed every relationship I ever had. Friends and/or romantic relationships.
First, people stopped asking me to slumber parties. Then to clubs and dates when I was a teenager. I couldn’t attend two new year’s eve parties I’d planned weeks ahead. She actually peed on me and my dress as I was walking out of the door in one occasion. Everybody understands but nobody wants the trouble.
Against all odds I’ve been dating a guy since January. He knows my mother is sz.
I have never hidden it.
(I was brought up by my grandparents who firmly believed in pschoanalys and psychiatrists, not God or church).
This guy was patient at first, but who wants to date a girl who can never go out?
Last night was he gave me an ultimate.
I’ve been canceling since the 20th.
Notice that I’m a grown woman and people just don’t get how imprisoned I am.
The common sense is that if she’s I’ll, hire nurses or something, simply as that.
He doesn’t know what a psychotic break looks like. And why should he? Don’t ask me to have faith on him cause he’s just not that kind of guy, but he distracts me, he makes me happy for short periods of time.
I don’t want to impose her illness on anyone I love. It’s my burdon and my alone. I know about contraceptive measures since way before I was sexually active. I wouldn’t want my child, any child for that matter, around her toxicity.
I don’t think it’s fair what she does. Thuth be told I don’t have any friends left (she forbade to see any of them since I was in my early twenties. One good friend of mine told me: you’re great, lovely, but you can’t go anywhere, do anything.)
I’m venting now cause I was maybe for the first time in a long time relationship. One that she utterly destroyed, as always.
Please help sort this out. Is it the illness? My psychoanalyst says she’s viciously envious and jealous, but it’s not like my pschoanalyst has to live and care for my mother. And if she’s such a monster what have I been doing with my life?

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You’ve been demonstrating unconditional love. Not because it’s fun, rewarding, or easy. But because we must each follow our own internal moral compass.

My son has SZ. And my mom has major dementia. On any given day I could face a crisis with my son followed by numerous calls from my screaming and crying mom about being left ‘at school’.

Who can know the depths we know? My faith is the ONLY thing that keeps me going. I pray you’ll find your own personal compass, and with it, peace, because you are ‘Honoring your father and mother’ (#4!)…

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I know exactly how you feel. My wife has suffered from psychosis for nearly three years and it has left me feeling more lonely than ever. Due to her condition, she has fallen out with my parents, neighbours and some of our friends. It also hugely affects our daughter, now 7, because she is also suspicious of fellow parents. This means our daughter makes friends with another child then is told she can’t go to her friend’s house because my wife has delusions that her parents are bad people.
The biggest problem is the psychosis has totally destroyed our relationship, which was not that great before the illness. We now just co-exist, sleep in different rooms, and it’s hard to recover from everything we have been through.
I’m trying to stand by her as I know she is sick and this isn’t her real personality but it’s so tough as she is refusing help.

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Sando, you truly inspire me to be a better person. The other day I was beside myself for not understanding why, why a person who’s supposed to love me can be so mean and vicious. She pretty much alienated me from all my friends. So is it having a boyfriend something so important knowing that she’ll go psychotic if I do? Maybe I was just being selfish.
It’s not that I’ve given up on having some sort of social life. But it will have to accommodate my mother’s needs (and she’s getting needier by the minute).
She gave me birth and I should be grateful even though she makes my life impossible.
In my heart I’ve always known I’ll stick by her side no matter how hard it gets.
It’s just that she knows how to push all my buttons and when she’s vicious and unreasonable like that it drives me crazy. And it’s not like a normal mother/daughter situation. I don’t have the luxury to get mad and simply go out the door.
I’ll take care of her for as long as she lives. There’s no changing that. But sometimes I just miss my friends, being able to go on dates, to travel (I’ll never be able to travel again, will I? That’s depressing), and my job. I loved my job.
I think that’s what I’m struggling the most with. Letting go of people and things I love.
And yes I do question myself if that is the right thing to do by me. Because I’m suffering. One day at the time, right?

Wishing you all the best. Sorry to hear about your mom. Dementia is a horrible thing. Devastating, really. My grandfather (my true father, the one person who took me in and cared enough to raise me) had alzheimer’s for the last ten years of his life. It was heartbreaking.

Hey, I’m very sorry you’re going through all that.
It’s really commendable that you’re trying to stand by your wife. That’s very noble and altruistic. Not many people would. My father divorced my mother (who suffers from sz) and I don’t judge him for that. It was an impossible situation he couldn’t cope with and that’s ok. I don’t think it was fair for him to leave me behind knowing how sick she was and I so helpless (I was one or two years old at the time) but that’s another matter.
Being the daughter of a sz mother I do worry about your daughter. Is she in therapy? If not don’t waste any time. I know it’s very hard on everyone but on kids it is tougher.
I struggle with my mother’s illness all the time but what I’ve been put through when I was your daughter’s age haunts me till this day.
I’m sorry if I’m overstepping and I don’t know how serious your wife’s condition is. My mother starved me, beated me, went on days, weeks without speaking to me. It was just the two of us in our apartment and it was hell. I was isolated with someone on a psychotic break. It’s frightening and it leaves emotional scars.
I don’t know if your wife is salvageable, but your daughter definitely is.
I’m not saying you should not care for wife in some way, maybe a clinic or a psychiatric hospital, since she’s refusing help, but you should prioritize your daughter.
Hang in there. Wish you the best.

Hi, Joana, thanks for your reply. My daughter gets counselling at school and we also now have a social worker so there are people she can talk to about it.
Thankfully my wife is not as bad as your mother was with you. Instead of being abusive to our daughter she spoils her too much, giving her everything she asks for and too much food.
This causes conflict though as I try my best to keep our daughter healthy and let her know there are boundaries and that she can’t always get what she wants.
The biggest impact on Jennifer has been my wife’s two explosive rows with the neighbor, that really upset her

Hi Joana.
The short answer is yes. -Regarding to your question of loneliness. But your loneliness is also based on how you adjust to your mother’s diagnosis and the circumstances around her care.
My twin started showing signs of schizophrenia as early as 18. At 22- he was finally diagnosed. I almost immediately began feeling lonely because schizophrenia- isn’t something a person casually brings up in everyday conversation. I found that discussing mental illness made many people uncomfortable. Yet it was something I was always concerned with. I was worried about my brother’s health. Where he would live. Who would be responsible for his care? Would he be physically harm others? What were his chances at a normal life? If not- what were realistic expectations for his future? Haven’t we as a family been through enough already? Would it be a good idea for me to consider having children? How would I explain this illness to people in my future? To women I dated? What do I have to offer someone else? The stigma of mental illness made me feel ashamed. I felt ashamed at my inability to change my brother’s life. I was ashamed at my anger of the unfairness of this disease. I felt judged by others for being unable to rein in his behavior. I could feel the pity from others towards my family and my situation. All of these questions made me feel isolated and alone as a 20- something.
It’s unfortunate that the man you’re dating gave you an ultimatum. But this is an important question that he raised. What kind of life would you like to have? Is it unreasonable for you to go out and enjoy the company of others on occasion? If you’re here asking this question- I think you may partly know this answer already.
Being here and talking about your circumstances chips away at your loneliness and shame. Mental illness can feel so bleak- that it’s crucial to seek out joy in everyday life. In small things. I could wallow all day in how much suffering there was in this world. Or how one family’s luck is drastically different than another’s. An old friend had to remind me that suffering- in and of itself solves nothing. That taking care of myself isn’t corrupt act. Start with small things you can do for yourself. Cook something new. Take a bath or read a book. We aren’t superhuman. Each of us has needs. Physical- emotional- spiritual. What are yours?
Love and light-
R-

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Hi!
Thank you for your kind words and sharing your own experience. I find it very helpful.
I’ve been living around sz people and psychiatrists since I was born. If you think lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice think again. My perfectly sound minded grandparents managed to have three sz children! What are the odds of that?
I was brought up believing this was normal. But you’re so right 'cause it does make people uncomfortable bringing it up. Leant it the hard way.
I was raised not to be ashamed of mental illness. I mean are people ashamed of having a heart condition or diabetes, or any other physical disease? Nope.
Unfortunately that’s not how most people feel when it comes to mental illness. It’s not contagious for Christ’s sake!
But, yes, friends and lovers tend to walk away. I don’t suffer as much when they do out of prejudice but when it is because I’m the one who’s at faul it breaks my heart.
Reciprocity is expected in any relationship. And I’m the one constantly canceling, asking for rainchecks. Who would want someone like that? It’s very noble to prioritize your mother’s needs but people just get tired of it.

Very sorry to hear about your twin. Gosh, your twin!
I can relate to all the concerns you expressed. They are all very legitimate in my view.
About having children I should say I have decided not to a long time ago. I don’t think it would be fair for me to risk it considering my mother’s schizofrenia and my family’s mental illness history though I do respect people in our condition who decide to have children.
May I ask if you are monozygotic twins?
First of all you don’t have superpowers so don’t feel ashamed for not being able to change your brother’s life. This illness is beyond our capabilities.
About being angry, even though I’ve made my peace about taking care of my mother and the toll it takes on the shambles of my so called life, I too feel angry sometimes (a lot of times). It is unfair!
It just means that you’re human.
Talking about things I do for myself, I have a dog (God, that sounded sad and lonely!), I enjoy cooking (I’m actually a good cook probably because my mother starved me when I was a child), but I do miss physical contact with another human being.
Too bad the guy I’m dating is about to walk away. I miss having someone outside all of this madness.
But who could blame him?
Best wishes and take care,
Jo

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Sad situation, feel for you and your daughter.
Perhaps you can get counseling, that would help you and your daughter. If she doesn’t go on meds, she will remain the way she is.
Good luck.

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This is the reality of your life. There is a lot if mean people, specially the young who feel invincible.But a kind person will come by and understand. You do not need a lot of acquaintances, you just need one good friend. It will come. Do not rush it.

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Thanks for your kind words, at the moment it just feels like we are treading water and waiting for the next big blow-up.

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is your mother you responsibility alone. can someone from your family circle helps. Contact NAMI in your area and ask for help. also reach out to a Therapist if you can afford one.
Seek mental health help center like NAMI, you will find some comfort and support.
do not worry about friends who do not want to understand your situation and support you. with time, you will time a friend who will support you and deal with your situation.

I do understand what you are going through. I went through similar circumstances with my son. still going through ups and down. but I have hopes that he will get better with time.

Hung in there and reach out to NAMI. Praying for you.

.

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Thank you for your kind words.
I’m sorry it took so long for me to get back to you.
I guess it took that long for me to finally admit that I’m all alone in this. There’s no one else, I’m afraid. I have my grandmother but she’s 93 years old. Although she means the world to me - and the simple fact that she’s still here is a testament to her unconditional love - it’s not like I expect her to help me to deal with my mother’s mental illness. It’s not fair to burden her at her age. And she can’t take it anymore. My sz mother has no limits when she’s in a psychotic break. Last November I had to rush my grandma to the ER (chest pains and skyrocket blood preassure) in the aftermath of one of my mother’s crisis. And in the middle of an out of control Covid pandemic, let’s not forget.
So yes, just me. Thank my grandfather I was brought up from an early age to endure. Not coping with it the best way, though. I need to toughen up. It’s not like I can fail my mother.

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My experience hasn’t been nearly as intense as yours, @Joana, but I can relate to the loneliness (I’ve got a schizophrenic sister who was tough for my parents to manage even before the overt psychosis developed, and more recently a husband who has had two pretty extended periods of unmediated psychosis).

My sister’s issues did have an impact on me, I think, in terms of making me unaccustomed to considering my own needs from the time I was quite young - which, as I am starting to see, has really set me up to play the same role in my marriage.

It is hard to figure out the right thing to do or how to maintain some sort of sustainable balance. Or it is for me, at any rate. Therapy helps, and might also help you feel a little less alone in your pain? Or it has for me, at any rate.

Your situation (in terms of your guy’s ultimatum) is so sad and poignant. It reminds me of the dilemma of one of the characters in the movie “Love, Actually”, who, as it turns out, has a severely mentally ill brother and who has to choose between her brother and her own happiness. I have always felt that she made the wrong choice, or that there was really a way in which the options were not as black or white as she was seeing them. It’s the one scene in the movie where I find myself hoping the character will make a different decision and find some sort of middle ground each time I watch it.

And after reading your posts, I am finding myself wishing the same for you, of course.

But I admit that I am not nearly as good at negotiating the sort of balance I would wish for others in my own life - which is something many of us here seem to struggle with.

So perhaps, at least in this one way, we are not truly alone?

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I’ve been meaning to get back to you. So sorry it took me that long.
I must say you wrote me the sweetest, most warm felt message ever.
I was feeling so down at the time and your words literally put a smile upon my face.
I miss having friends and being a hopeful optimistic. I miss the lightness of a normal life. That’s what this fellow represented to me, I guess. A shot at normalcy, to be able to care for someone who doesn’t rely upon you for everything.
Yes, it sucks that he’s gone.
And I’m aware it’s my fault he called it quits because I didn’t make enough room in my life for him.
I could never prioritize romantic relationships. My mother and my family’s needs always came first. And to be perfectly honest I didn’t even question that until very recently. It felt right to put their needs first.
My mother has always been mentally ill. I’m the one who’s changed. It’s one thing to fully dedicate yourself to someone else when you’re in your late teens, or in your twenties. You have a whole life ahead of you.
It’s another thing when you’re pushing 40. WTF have I done with my life is a very troubling and recurring thought, indeed.
I’m in therapy but it hasn’t helped me so far to balance things out. At least I’m allowing myself to recognize I too have needs.
I look forward to hearing from you again.
Maybe you can tell me more about your sister’s illness and how it was like to grow up in that environment.
Thank you so much.

Joanna. Who were you responding to? I don’t think it was me but don’t want to leave you hanging!!

I believe she is responding to @Itsastruggle

Thanks Hope!! I’m not the brightest but can tell when someone is sincere and needs a reply. How are you?? You are always so kind to others.

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Hi Sando! I enjoyed your optimistic post earlier- thanks for posting it. I’m good- chasing a 5 year old around/ just two hours to go!:laughing:

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Hey, Sando!
That’s so sweet for you to care.
I’m so thankful to have found this community.
Yes, I was responding to @itsastruggle.
But I take it as a bonus that you answered as well.
I complain about my life but the reality of it is that I was lucky enough to have had pretty awesome role models in my grandparents. So, at least for today, I’m staying strong.
God only knows how they managed 3 sz children.
How’s your son doing? And how about you?
Sending good vibes your way.

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