This is my first time posting here. I really need help. Sorry this post is long. But I want to include detail. I am the girlfriend/partner of a schizophrenic man. We are both in our thirties, been together 14 months. We are having repeated conflict & I am unsure if it’s down to the illness, if there’s anything I could do differently to help and/or if the issues are not truly related to schizophrenia & he doesn’t recognise this.
Basically every 6 weeks or so he has a flare-up, meltdown or similar and every time it’s intensifying. He says he feels that way as well. I am at my wits end as I can see a clear pattern and possible causes but he refuses to take any pro active action. He never speaks to me about his symptoms at all except during these meltdowns when he angrily tells me everything he sees and hears.
Most of the time he is basically affectionate and good towards me. He’s had schizophrenia since his teens and hasn’t been hospitalised in over 10 years. He has weekly therapy and is on clozapine. He does voluntary work now for a couple of years and has lived independently over 10 years. He is high functioning and rarely shows any obvious symptoms.
We effectively live together even though he has his own flat - he stays with me all of the time unless he wants time in isolation to feel better - turns out this is fairly often but he’s been giving other reasons for leaving my house, go “home”. In 14 months he’s stayed at his flat overnight just 4 times but often goes back there during the day. He calls my house home and he calls the flat home so it’s very confusing.
He says he needs his flat for mental health reasons but it’s become upsetting for me because I feel rejected and like he’s implying I make him more ill. Its also very expensive when he spends so little time there. He says he can’t de-stress in the same house as me - but honestly (I am really being truthful) there is no conflict on a regular basis, I can’t think of anything I am doing to cause him to want to be away from me. He says he knows it upsets me but insists it’s essential he keep the flat. He avoids discussing it most of the time. He also won’t take steps towards any kind of paid work even though he has a lot of responsibility in his voluntary job, so I think he could, & basically financially I am not in a good position as a result.
He says during the 6 weekly meltdowns that he needs to isolate himself when he’s under stress so needs the flat to do that. He says he’s not sure he can handle being in a relationship, not sure if he loves me, not sure he wants commitment and that he’s not sure I am more important to him than the flat. This obviously hurts me. He gets angry and rants to me about his hallucinations and messages he gets daily. Then he says he has to leave and goes to the flat. This can go on for hours or even a whole day. Afterwards he will say he is sorry and that he loves me. He says the only reason he says those things is because of the illness.
Then he wants to pretend nothing has happened unless I bring it up and insist on a plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again. He usually says he’s not sure he can stop it because it’s out of his control. I can see a clear trigger which is usually that I am upset about something or feeling less than happy myself, about things not related to him. It seems he tries to “out do” me (or maybe gets triggered by my mood) and show that he feels worse on these occasions. Which leads to getting very stressed out and having these meltdowns. He denies there is any link between my mood state and his reactions…
I’ve been asking for over 6 months to meet with his therapist, he agrees in theory and then stalls the arrangement so it doesn’t happen. He says the therapist says the flare-ups are down to him not speaking to me more about his feelings. But he doesn’t ever do this & just announces he is going to his flat. I’m hoping it’s clear why I’m so frustrated by this and can’t see any route forward.
Can someone please tell me if he’s able to control this behaviour or not? I want to believe he’s being truthful, but I have a nagging feeling he has much more control over his behaviour than he says he does. My feeling is that there are challenges with the illness he could face better but for some reason he isn’t doing this, even though I am obviously very affected by it. He says he forgets it affects me as well.
Any help greatly greatly appreciated!