Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How can I encourage him to be more emotionally self-sufficient?

I got out of the relationship for the last time in 2014, when my ex’s paranoia was stopping me from doing anything: getting a job, starting a business, going back to education, seeing friends and family, or doing anything except being cooped up in his flat on benefits.

Although I have gotten back on my own two feet since leaving, both his positive and negative symptoms have gotten worse along with his physical health and mobility since I left. (By the way, my ex is not diagnosed, and I am not medically qualified to diagnose him, but I recognise the signs because I had to study clinical neuropsychology as part of my neuroscience degree.)

I speak to him twice a week on the phone, and limit him to that, and refuse to pick up the phone or answer messages in between, otherwise he wants to absorb all my time and attention just as he did when we lived together, and I can’t indulge him all the time as I am now extremely busy training for a new career. He lives for our phone calls and gets angry and upset when I have something else to do and need to reschedule the call. His clinginess and neediness seem to have gotten so much worse, despite me telling him that while I am happy to chat twice a week, don’t get any illusions of us getting back together. I can’t tell if it’s the SZ getting worse that’s making him hanker after me just as much or even more than when we were an item, but I really wish he’d learn to stand on his own two feet emotionally speaking.

After all these years I don’t think there’s any chance that he will see a doctor or get diagnosed, and I’m not scared of his little puppy dog behaviour or anything like that because we both enjoy our chats, but I wonder if there are any resources with advice I could use to encourage him to regulate his emotional attachments better and be more self-sufficient.

you should encourage him t see a pdoc …but don’t give him grief…stress worsens sz so you should avoid that if at all possible

Unfortunately with this disease people with the severe paranoia will most likely never admit or own it isn’t real. They are set in their mind that what they are experiencing is real and everyone else is wrong. I’ve tried to point out common sense or logical possibilities but I’m looked at like I have 5 heads! Unless you actually get them to a doctor and properly medicated it’s like fighting a losing battle. And if you win that battle another large group shows up to battle again without getting any rest between these battles! I hope that makes sense as you can probably tell I’m exhausted. I finally stopped walking on eggshells and other family members are telling me I’m being insensitive. I just got tired of watching everyone enable and making excuses for behavior that I find appalling! No one ever says anything, just goes along with it!

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@HisEx It is good that you have established boundaries and are holding to them. We cannot MAKE a person with SMI (serious mental illness) do anything. He might be interested in a support group for persons living with mental illness such as offered through NAMI called “Peer” support groups where he can share his heart out. (NAMI.org then find a link there to locate info for your state’s NAMI organization and support groups.) If you want to help someone who has poor insight into his/her illness, the best advice I can offer is to use LEAP (Listen/Empathize/Agree/Partner) as explained in the most commonly referenced book on the subject, “I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help” by Dr. Xavier Amador. There are no easy answers and it takes a lot of effort on our part to help someone with SMI.