Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Giving unconditionally ...is that the answer? I doubt


#1

Since my schizophrenic brother came to my town and into my life in a way about 15 days ago,after a 15 years disconnection; I have been spending a lot of time on here and on internet ,reading the posts, trying to understand the illness, to get informed and to find some answers.(Some answers are not to be found though,I know)

Today,after reading some posts I felt a lot of feelings I have buried for a long time.I guess this is normal.They say;feelings never go away but stay there unless you go through them,process them.I’ll get professional help for that as soon as I can.

One of those feelings is resentment.Giving lots to the mentally ill person but getting no appreciation,no feedback,being taken for granted.Even if there is a “thank you” occasionally,when you get to see that it is only lip service and there is no action or attitude that backs up.Once I heard from a family member of a mentally ill person that she felt herself as a credit card for her relative,nothing more.Once,when we were living together I wanted my brother to help me with a chore and he said,“you are using me”…Yes,I was responsible for the rent,for the bills for everything at home,he didn’t have any contribution and I was using him…LOL

It is so hard to continue giving without feeling anything.I am a human,I have feelings,emotions.I am not a robot.I now see that I did that for years,gave gave and then gave some more and got drained.I didn’t know better at the time.Ok,yes he is ill and the illness isn’t his fault but…but should giving unconditionally and getting disrespect in return for be a destiny for the family members of schizophrenics?You need to be a saint, an angel and I know I am not one.I am only a human ,not perfect no way but try to be better.

I send my deepest regards to all the mothers on here…I admire them for all they are doing for their children.Is it about being a mother,having motherly instincts?I know mothers who are not caring though.I don’t have a child myself,my choice. People tell me that I’m very motherly and nourishing,protecting but I’m not a mother so I don’t know.

As for my brother,he is here but he has withdrawn since I tried to talk about past with him-it was a mistake of me but unfortunately,unknowingly I did it.Yes,since that day he is not talking with me but only with my husband.My husband is like a negotiator right now.Last week he went to see him a couple of times and made sure he had enough money etc.Yesterday we were going out of town to a peaceful resort and called him just in case he wanted to join us but his phone was off.I called the hotel and learned that he was out and fine so we went without getting worried about him.

Now he is a guest of us here in my town…what is happening?We want to help him,we want to make better life conditions for him and he is not answering our calls.I wish I could know what thoughts are going on in his mind.Has he been paranoid or what?It is so difficult to understand this illness.

So I am asking this question…is giving unconditionally no matter what the answer? I doubt though. What is the solution?


#2

Giving unconditionally is not expecting anything in return. Maybe he is unable to give back at this point, probably just likes his loneliness as many of us do. You shouldn’t ask for a sz person to be able to manage his emotions of the past also, if it is difficult for someone “normal” it is twice as hard for someone who’s ill.

Maybe you shouldn’t be concerned about those small matters but about the big picture. He went to see you and is using your husband as a middle man because he believes he needs help, and you are willing to give that to him. Just don’t ask for a response that fits your criteria of normal behaviour.


#3

Maybe you just need to be a little patient at this point? Could you leave him a voice message? If you could leave him a caring voice message to turn things around, in my opinion would be great. I know giving without expectations is really difficult, probably only mothers could do that but could you maybe focus on helping him? Once he recovers and can manage his life, I’m sure he’s gonna be around for you too.


#4

I’ve had paranoid schizophrenia for thirty-five years. First of all, I would like to say that every person with schizophrenia is different, just like every so-called “normal” person is different. Not everybody is like your brother, I am certainly not. But having said that, I have seen other people that are in your same situation who give and give and give to their schizophrenic son, mother, sister, brother etc. and get nothing but ungratefulness in return. I don’t know what the solution is, but like I said, we’re not all like that.

My family has supported me during my entire illness. I am very grateful and I thank them often when they do something for me whether it’s treating me to a meal at a restaurant or inviting me to one of their social functions. My sisters do not give love or help unconditionally. They never have. They give me love but not everything I do is met with approval and not everything I do is accepted without question. If I do something wrong or act wrong, than they will call me on it. They will give their opinions on my life when they think its right.

They expect me to help myself and do things for myself. Sometimes I make them mad and they will tell me and sometimes I need to change my behavior. They usually give me the truth straight, and they give their opinions and advice straight. If it was me who was acting ungrateful to my sisters or disrespectful…well, they would never let me get away with it. They would tell me what they thought. Obviously your brother should have been more grateful and if you can’t talk about the past then start from where you are. By the way, I don’t think me or my sisters or my family is perfect but we do our best.


#5

thanks Minnie,thanks a lot.It helps.


#6

He doesn’t permit voice messages,I think.But sending a sms could be considered,thanks.


#7

Is your brother on SSI/disability? If he isn’t, maybe you should try to get him on it. Then maybe you could get him into some kind of group home. You have my sympathy. Caring for someone with sz can require endless patience.


#8

It’s so valuable to get different opinions.I’ll sort out my own answers after giving time to myself to think on them.

Well,you say everybody,including schizophrenics are different.Everybody is different yes,but maybe because I haven’t been able to understand this illness so far-quit trying to understand it when we parted with my brother-I might be thinking that every sz person is somewhat the same because of the illness.Many times people have been given the impression that “Confrontation of any kind will be harmful to the ill person because they are already so fragile.They are already dealing with so many hardships.” Probably timing is crucial here.

From your post,I understand that you can cope with confrontations well and adjust yourself,even maybe question yourself,change your behaviour.This is new to me.Enabling wrongdoings is not help to anyone,I have always known it .

I started a thread ‘supporting vs enabling’ in the hope of getting some opinions but noone wanted to discuss it I guess.


#9

Certain behaviour is learned and embedded. You guys grew up a certain way and you’re victims of how you acted in the past. Everybody talks about “changing”. I don’t know how much changing is possible in a relationship especially if one half of the relationship has no interest in changing. Yes, I try to change certain things about myself, things that get in the way of relating to people or things that I can see will cause me trouble later down the road if I don’t do something about them.

I actually saw that thread. maybe you can try re-posting it. We have slow times on these forums where there are more or less people on and sometimes threads get buried before a lot of people can see them.


#10

**Its very hard to deal with this illness. Step back. Let your husband be the third party. My son hates it when I try to talk to him about anything personal. A third person thats involved can help a lot.
I would not talk about the past with your brother. Unfortunately, you will have to deal with this on your own, or with A therapist or support group. Your brother may never be able to explain to you in a satisfactory way.
My son is very proud and hates that he is dependent. He can get very hateful at times. If your brother is exhibiting bad behavior at times, you do not have to accept it.
There are no easy or permanent answers. The best thing you can do is educate yourself. Keep coming here.


#11

It’s all just a bunch of glitches, really. Can we ever genuinely understand each other face-to-face? I don’t know, and I doubt it. Everytime I try to initiate conversations with people face-to-face there seem to be grave disconnects.

I think internet is all mind-to-mind, which makes it better company.

As for giving unconditionally, why not? None of us live forever on this Earth. Better to go down with a historicity of giving rather than not giving, or worse yet not caring.

We are supposed to do good to each other regardless of the outcome, or so I thought.


#12

I think that you are enabling him. I don’t know everything that is going on but if he is living with you he should be at least expected to do some chores. If you are paying his rent you should make sure that he looks after himself (don’t do his laundry for him, get him to cook his own meals, ect.) It might be a bit of a task to get the ball rolling but he needs some responsibility. Is he stable? If so this could all be leading up to him getting a job.

If you ever feel bad about forcing any of this stuff on him (I know from personal expereince that family can tug on your heart strings. In a different way of course, I’m sza) what would happen if you weren’t here? What if something happened and you just vanished what would happen to him? You can’t say your husband would look after him because (to be honest) if something happened to you he probably would have a hard time taking care of himself much less your brother. I’m sorry this is so morbid, but think of building up your brother’s resume of skills to being able to live on his own and hold down a job like life insurance. Even if you do have other family you think would take him in just remember everyone isn’t as kind as you are. Do this for the both of you.