How do people handle the stress? I have severe anger issues now and don't know how to cope

I’m wondering how people here manage their stress and anger. I read so many accounts on here from people that are caregivers for people with schizophrenia and how they handle it with so much grace and patience, and sadly, I have not lived up to that standard and am failing my girlfriend.

2 years ago, my girlfriend developed schizophrenia. We live in a studio apartment together now and she doesn’t go out much, so we are around each other a lot. I have a very hard time dealing with living with her, because I’m often having to deal with emotional support, delusional rantings, being blamed for stuff or being given silent treatment, even when I’m trying to work on my job. It used to be worse, where I’d wake up to and fall asleep to rantings, but that has stopped. Since this has happened, my life has really gone to shit in many ways. I’ve become broke (getting on the right track now), lost friends, strained relationship with family, suffered my own worsening mental health, and I am constantly subjected to being blamed and accused of stuff.

My girlfriend doesn’t realize she has schizophrenia and refuses to seek any type of help (and she’s not a danger to herself or others, so can’t be committed), but she’s still more functional than a lot of the people I read about on here, so it’s probably still an easier situation for me than a lot of people here deal with. She’s able to hold a job that allows her to work whenever she wants, and she buys groceries and does some stuff around the house. She’s not capable of living on her own or supporting herself, but she can still do these functional day-to-day things and behave as normal as someone could when thinking they’re the victim of a conspiracy.

I was always known as someone who handled stress very well. I had some rough life experiences too – abused for my whole teenage life, a couple years of illness, losing huge sums of money, etc. Through it all, I’ve always managed to be level-headed and not let it affect my spirit. That all went out with the window with this and I’ve never dealt with anything this difficult.

Sad to say but I’ve allowed this to turn me into a piece of shit. After the first year of dealing with this, I have real anger issues now, and even though I understand logically that I shouldn’t take anything personal, can’t blame my girlfriend for her actions & beliefs, and that she’s the victim of something horrible, I frequently have emotional outbursts and temper tantrums at her behavior or comments, where something gets to me and I yell at her, or break down, or complain. I do not pick fights, or insult her, or do anything cruel and I ignore the majority of what happens, but eventually one of her comments or behavior will get to me and I have an emotional outburst and get angry at her, which makes her situation more miserable. I used to be a lot better at managing this, but after dealing with so much, I now have more of a hair-trigger temper.

I think what bothers me the most is not her purely delusional schizophrenic beliefs but some of her actual feelings towards me that are just her opinions and not based on delusions. For instance, when she suggests I’m part of a Satanic conspiracy or selling her information to people, it doesn’t bother me, because it’s just complete nonsense. But there are things she says that are her actual beliefs & feelings that really cut to my core. I constantly have to hear comments about how I’ve never helped her, how its my fault that all this happened to her, how she can’t wait to get away from me, how I should have kids with someone else, how I don’t care about her, etc, etc. She doesn’t really talk to or associate with anyone else, so I basically become the scapegoat for a lot of her blame. Then, over time, I have allowed this to actually turn me into a shitty person that actually deserves the blame, and it just causes everything to get worse for both of us.

My new plan has been to just try to avoid her as much as possible. I rented a desk at an office space and my plan is to spend as much time there as possible and try to earn money to better our situation. But I still have to spend time around her and my stress just keeps getting worse. Living in such a small space with her is a very toxic situation for both of us, but there’s not too many other options – I can’t afford to move to a bigger place and there’s nowhere else for her to go (she’d be homeless), and she refuses any help because she says she’s “always right” and doesn’t need it. I do have savings but don’t want to spend any more of them after depleting so much of them since this started.

I know people might say I need to just not take it personal, but I really don’t know how to do that. I get so frustrated I have the urge to slam my head into a wall or scream at the top of my lungs or start breaking stuff. So much stress builds up inside me and I don’t know how to deal with it.

I usually go for a run. It builds up capacity to handle more of the stress and helps me clear my head as well. Usually during a long run, I get ideas what I should do differently, reflect what is not working and what works. Sometimes, it could be I am afraid to try new things because of the difficulty I am already in. The run gave me more “energy” to risk a bit more change. It seems to work for me.

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In hindsight, I guess if you keep adjusting the situation, you will likely find an equilibrium that works out for you and your loved one.

Thank you for the suggestion. My knees are shot but I will try going for more walks or doing some sort-of exercise outside when I feel my stress reaching a peak. I find I have a lot of tension in my body now and start getting physically agitated/jittery these days.

I’m definitely trying to spend more time outside my apartment, but I’m worried about for the times I need to spend in there and how to handle stress in the moment too. It’s like being in a room next to a schizophrenic person all the time – unless you go outside, you can’t even go into another room to take a break.

I’m going to cut to the chase and it might alarm you. You both are under the attack of Satan, but the good news is that things can get lots better. I know from personal experience because for the past 11 years my schizophrenic son drove me to hate myself and him with such a vengence. I cried out to God repeatedly to be delivered from the constant torment he put me through. Everything changed when I stopped complaining to God and asked him sincerely what he wanted me to do. Very clearly and softly I heard a firm voice say, “Your only job is to love and encourage him.” Stop trying to do all that you think is best and realize you aren’t in control. You can’t make her sickness go away. You need the power of God and his Holy Spirit to help you cope and give you a newer perspective. God has helped me with better self-control, less guilt, more loving nature, more forgiving, more understanding, and alot more encouraging. God has helped my son tremendously as he exhibits fewer rants, threats, bizarre behavior, and much more level-headed thinking. He’s even doing a daily devotional reading. When you depend on God through Christ more than you depend on your own self, you open up a wonderful treasure that is bottomless. Pray, study, get more rest, drink more water, take more breaks away from each other, exercise, breathe more, and depend on God for strength and all that he offers. The devil will flee when he sees you are in a serious relationship with the Lord.


Hi, I read your essay with interest, as my daughter is evidencing schizophrenia, but refuses to admit she has a problem. She hears voices constantly, and every day it seems the voices are telling her she needs to leave her boyfriend who she has lived with for about 5 years now. I have tried to be helpful to the BF, and I know he is going through much the same as what you described. I told him to treat my daughter like she is a “ripe plum”, very delicate. He seemed to find that helpful, said he reminds himself often that she is a “ripe plum”. I don’t have many answers for you, but will congratulate you for trying to be supportive of her, and do what is best for her given her challenges.

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Thank you, I appreciate the kind suggestions, and I am sorry to hear about your son.

That actually does not alarm me, because I already was thinking that was the real cause. She developed this schizophrenia after moving into a house and when I went to the house to help her move to my place, I experienced something there (only time in my life) that was not normal. I then found out from her that other people at the house had said they had similar experiences to me, although she herself was not aware of anything happening to her while she was there, but I already knew from that point what caused this.

Even knowing that’s the cause, I still have a hard time controlling myself when her comments and behavior gets under my skin so much. I do not hate or blame her, but in the moment, I am just filled with so much anger, rage, hurt, and despair that eventually, I just meltdown. And I have no one to talk to about this or no real outlet. I am going to try to deepen my relationship with God and speak with him more, thank you for that suggestion.

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Thank you for the advice and kind words, I really appreciate that, and I am sorry that your daughter is experiencing this.

I like “ripe plum”, I will keep that in mind next time. I think because she can be high-functioning for someone with undiagnosed schizophrenia, I can forget that in the moment too easily. I never got angry about her ranting about Satanic brotherhoods or that stuff, but when it’s just stuff about her saying something to me that I think is cruel or hateful, I’m viewing it in the moment like it’s coming from someone with a logical thought process and not someone suffering and not thinking straight. I will think of those words as a reminder when it happens again.


I’m glad you received my suggestions well. I have experienced the same rage and then hate myself for it. It is admirable that you have love for her to stay in the relationship. Another thing I say out loud but not in earshot of my son is Get thee behind me Satan. I claim the blood of Jesus, be gone. For me this is powerful but I find I have to do it several times before things calm down. You can reach out to me anytime if you want. We all need to support each other.



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Have you considered getting therapy for yourself as a caregiver? Even if it just a place to vent your frustrations, it could take some of the pressure off. Also, I don’t think what you listed as her true opinions are real - I think it’s still the illness talking. I applaud you for hanging in there with her. You must really love her. There may come a time though where you need to put your own mental health first - and there is no shame in that. Perhaps there are some agencies you could consult with to see if they can be of help - at least with information.

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I will always caveat this with somethings that are cruel, in a way but may be necessary to remember.

She is ill but her tirades against you are a form of mental and psychological abuse. While I fully understand that she is unable to rationalize what she thinks and feels are the result of her illness. Not a true reflection of you or your worth (or lack thereof) as a person. Your decision to stick with her despite the fact you are not married is a sign of your better morals, as often, (and I understand WHY some people choose to leave) they simply go.

For reasons that I do understand, people have left relationships with schizophrenic family members or partners. While it seems cruel, at times it is absolutely necessary if you yourself are on a mental trajectory toward self-harm or blame/abuse. Battered Wife Syndrome very much applies here. Technically, a battered wife is the byproduct of an abusive controlling narcissist. This is a recognized form of mental illness; that being said, it is NOT a reason to tolerate others poor behavior.

IF YOU ARE IN DANGER OF BEING HURT, Do not hesitate to get out and call the police or to get OUT of the situation.

If you cannot record when/where/how/what you have been doing, start recording a diary of dates, times, people met/called and catalog a phone record of all your conversations with others. Hard copies of everything are a must. Log notebooks with your friends or a trusted legal advisor who can be appraised of your situation. 211 has resources
for mental health help and social services and legal aide if you need referrals. An E-mail to your local DSHS while your at work MAY be able to help you with legal resources. Unfortunately people can and often do, believe what a paranoid schizophrenic says over your own word if she were ever to accuse you of crimes, especially if and when you have to call police.

Start a recording when the phone call to EMS happens and KEEP it GOING, before during and after you have made contact with EMS. Have some sort of documentation notarized with her diagnosis and an immediate contact bracelet for a medical intervention team. If she is found to have one by the police and EMS when they come to help, they will be able to tailor their responses according to her mental health issues, so long as your state has a mental health crisis intervention team. State her diagnosis on the phone and specifically request that she be seen by trained police/EMS familiar with her case. DHS and whatever Mental Health Resources are available in your state often include a mental health crisis hotline that routes directly to specialized services during an episode of decompensation.

I would see if her clientele are able to back up when/where/what her work schedule looks like so any accusations against you can be disproven. (i.e attempting to poison/hurt her when you where obviously not there.) It is hard to have to think about possibly reporting her to law enforcement but SZ get worse the LESS TIME SHE HAS WITH TREATMENT.

Eventually her symptoms may stabilize but her mental deficits and problems will only get worse if she continues to ignore treatment. Please remember, this is not directed at you, as in that you must do all this, but you need to take it into consideration. Her family may not help and you have very little recourse or reason to expose yourself to danger and possible suicidal ideation because you cannot help her (boyfriend with no legal documentation/decision making power does not qualify for a care provider. Unless you have it in writing, from a courts perspective it never happened) Proof of caretaker status can be supplemented with evidence of financial support via your shared apartment and helping with her car/shopping/whatever you two still manage to do as a couple. Save receipts.

Sometimes that is the best thing you can do to call EMS when she is decompensating so that you have an impartial audience and a record of what, where, and when things happened. Worst case scenario they can and often do have EMT and Paramedics speak to a patients mental state/ your actions attitudes during and after the case.

For practical advice, I would see if you can get in contact with her family members. Ask a social worker if she can find them for you and make the appropriate notifications. Especially if you don’t already have Durable Power of Attorney, with her mental statue, the social worker can be a temporary liaison for her treatment plan. Unfortunately, your girlfriend must consent to the release of information, ROI, so any and all of her care-team can communicate with each other, and HIPPA for you to be involved. Unless she is an active danger to herself, or you can prove she is mentally incapacitated, at the hospital admission especially, do not hesitate to ask for a social worker. They can provide another disinterested third party to prove your girlfriend has SZ and needs treatment. Masking symptoms and promising to take meds (if she has ever had any prescribed) and then failing to follow through is normal. If and how long you accept how this makes her treat you is up to you.

Remember to tell the Social worker if she doesn’t take meds. Do not fill her prescriptions without keeping a file of how many pills she has left/did not take, if you are going to be present during medication delivery. At else, a pharmacy record where she refused to refill her prescriptions (she has fewer excuses these days, able to drive, work, and get meds delivered to her front door on her days off basically makes med pick up a gift, not a requirement.) Your girlfriend may need help and an outside assessment to be given what she needs both mental health wise and physically. Allowing yourself to utilize as many resources as you can will help her and you in the long run. Refusal to take appropriate medications is sufficient reason to invoke a longer hospitalization, but the paper trail MUST be there to get her that help.

I sympathize with the life circumstance that have led to your resilience but would close with this. We all have one life to live. Supporting others is a selfless gesture, especially considering the number of people who are inconsiderate of others. This is a kindness so many don’t deserve and you are doing it anyway. However, you can and already do have signs of caregiver fatigue. Seeing a counselor or psychologist (who by the way may be able to point you to resources to help her and yourself) is a must. Aside from respecting your own time and health, it’s necessary to set boundaries with yourself and with others, coming from an abused background where you were never considered. It’s a horrible place to be and I sympathize.

My brother has Schizophrenia and my mom has Type II Bipolar with Schizoaffective tendencies so I have been here before. My younger cousin accused multiple people of rape before being found out as a liar. She has Schizophrenia as well, partly due to an sexual abuse case that we have absolute concrete proof of, and unfortunately she has been committed to long term adult supportive care, via Medicare and her, quite frankly, Richey rich parents. That was not the case in my family (the having money/time) to care for them part.

Whilst my mom has been in a long-term stable state for 7 years now, my brother has refused treatment so many times and FINALLY after collecting practically every speeding ticket, hospitalization, job loss, and odd behavior that he has ever had, getting help. I collected evidence from Psyche professors to former colleges and EMT’s. He is receiving a partial permanent stay in a psychiatric facility until he is stable enough for long-term monitoring and disability housing options. At this point my father, who recently had a minor heart attack, and my mother, whose symptoms and medications can get worse/fail to respond to treatment with enough stress, cannot take care of him anymore.

As horrible as it sounds, I took pictures of his room. How he cannot clean and care for himself. He refuses to unclog toilets to the point of leaving them overflowing with feces and urine, and the MANY MANY job losses that have resulted form his lack of timeliness and attention to personal hygiene. To say nothing of the times he was escorted off the premises of his work claiming that everyone he worked with was a homophobic bigot, among other things which were nonsensical and available on camera for voice and video audio. The irony is he worked at an LGBTQ positive clothing store. No gender stereotyping and a trans boss as his manager. He took a swing at a customer and got a “absolutely possessed” to quote the customers report, look on his face, when he made the accusation against them.

For my parents safety and my brothers (he goes missing and doesn’t tell us where/what he is doing) I have cameras installed in the front of the house and in my parents rooms/the kitchen. 2 party consent laws make this a tricky thing to navigate but my brother is a tenant and my parents the primary owners. Because they are not in places where you expect a reasonable degree of privacy, like a room or a bathroom, the evidence is something you can bring up in court/to a counselor, even if it proves inadmissible, it is the only reason I could show someone that his symptoms were as bad as they are. We never ended up using the evidence because it would be thrown out due to a patients (his) inability to consent to filming or audio recording at the time of the incident. Save some major lapses in speech that I have recorded in public (no expectation of privacy as I also tended to pull out my phone around family members as a cover. He likes being included in social events without truly realizing his insane mumbling is what has kept any of my siblings from allowing them to have a relationship with their kids.) I will not disclose all of his medical history except to say his SZ effects his libido and he will act on it with strangers or people willing to abuse him. It’s disgusting to have to have filed a report of sexual abuse on a known predator in the community that contacted him via the internet. The police and medical staff noted he was in a decompensated state after his initial panic/fear response. This is better evidence than what I could provide as a caregiver and as a related family member. They are both impartial and obligated to speak to their patients best interests, while also being realistic about what the situation is like.

I have had to do most of this research myself or had to call people on my own time. (I had to leave college to become my brother and my mothers primary care givers and haven’t had a real job in 5 years.) As such, I say this without malice but with envy, I would love to be in YOUR situation jobwise. I get some payment for being a register caretaker but it isn’t enough for me to live on and eventually, I will have to cut my losses and leave if I don’t want to die in poverty. My parents were the first in their generation to have good job opportunities but due to my brothers constant messes, that has gone the way of the dodo. He has a care trust but they can’t provide anything to my siblings and I because his medical needs are so expansive and expensive.

In one respect I’m better off than most because I already know what I want from life. No kids, a place to live, and maybe time to pursue my own hobbies in peace. I would never drag someone into the disaster that is my life knowing what this is like. My circle of friends is likewise, small. Ditto for my chances of providing the family with grandchildren. I don’t want to deal with this ever again once my brother and mother pass, despite the fact that I know it has, thus far, skipped me. I don’t want to foist another mentally ill person on the world knowing what I do about the risks of heritability.


Do you mind sharing what you experienced in the house and why you feel it is related to her development of schizophrenia?

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I am sorry for your situation living with someone who you believe has something you call “schizophrenia”. This is a term medically trained Doctors use to describe a group of symptoms. e.g. delusional, hallucinations etc. It has never been proven to be pathological. Instead it is usually something that happens to us as the result of a trauma or series of traumas. They could be anything from work, social or academic pressures to adolescent/parenting issues to childhood abuses, assault, or the aftermath of major environmental or social conflicts. When helping someone through this, essentially a crisis of negative thoughts, it can be tough. You have to forgive yourself for getting angry, given the circumstances it’s understandable. Try contacting some “hearing Voices” groups where you can have conversations with others who hear voices. This will help you gain some insights. Try thinking of your partner not as someone who is ill, but as someone who has had unfortunate experiences and has a story to tell. Trauma counselling would be useful for you and your partner. Go on your own if your partner is too resistant.

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Thank you for offering that. I teared up reading your message. I’ve been dealing with this all alone and I did not realize how much that was building up in me until I read your message, I appreciate that so much.

@mmm61 Thank you for those suggestions. I have considered therapy and think it would be good, but the problem is that my financial situation has gotten so poor during this & I can barely afford bills, so I want to boost my income before paying for regular therapy for myself. If my GF agreed to go, I would cash out money for that, but I don’t want any more regular expenses for myself. My plan is to earn more now that I have a private space to focus on work & then go to therapy once I have money coming in, so I don’t think I’m far away. But I do think you’re right that it would be very helpful. I also reached out for the NAMI family group and I’m on the waitlist now too.

@Wederington034985 Thank you for all of this detailed information & suggestions. I’m really sorry to hear what you, your family and brother have experienced, that is absolutely horrible. I am not surprised to hear about your parents’ health issues or how it has destroyed everyone’s finances. I hope that the situation improves for all of you soon with the disability housing & more help.

I have to be honest but if my GF had normal family to go to, then I would definitely consider that instead of living with her, but I think she would basically end up being homeless if she wasn’t at my place, so I’m not willing to until it gets unsafe, but that’s when she could be committed. The thing that makes it complicated to try to get her into treatment/help is that she is actually very capable for someone with schizophrenia. She does not attack anyone, she does not have outbursts outside, and she can act normal a lot of the time. She tidies the apartment and keeps everything clean. She is able to hold a job stocking shelves at a store. I know they realize there’s something wrong, because they accommodate her and allow her to just go into work whenever she feels like it at any time of the day/night, so it’s clear she behaves “off” there but not enough for it to be a real problem. The only time I ever saw her do something kind-of violent was purposefully bump into somebody on the street once, but that was a long time ago now. The worst thing she does is just the stuff I already mentioned, about ranting to me about delusions or accusing me of stuff, so there’s never been a justification to call EMS or anything.

I’m going to start chronicling all this like you suggest so that if she does get worse, I do have a record of it. I did not think of that before that as her boyfriend, I don’t really have any standing and a lot of people would not listen to me. That is very scary to think about, actually. I’ve always just been assuming that if it got to the point that she got completely unsafe/deranged, then she could be committed, I did not even think about building evidence/a case. Thank you for that!

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Yes what happened was she moved into a house. Shortly after, she began developing schizophrenia. Later on, when I went to the house to help her move back to my place, I was waiting in the kitchen at one point and I heard her whisper-call my name from the second floor twice. I went up the stairs and into her room, and she was startled by me and clearly hadn’t called me or said anything. There was also no one up there. She then told me that other people in the house had said they heard things or had other weird experiences like that, although she never experienced anything.

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Thank you, I appreciate the suggestions. I am on the wait-list for NAMI family-to-family course now, and I will check for other groups too, that’s a good idea!

All I can say is when it really comes to reducing stress, your body is a big factor. When I’m under major long-term stress, I cut caffeine back to one or two small servings per day and drink more water. Warm water but not warm from old lead or new plastic pipes, but warm from good mineral-free, plastic-free pipes or heated up. Find a You Tube muscle stretch routine to do daily. Exercise or work hard, which reduces toxins that build up from anger and stress in your bloodstream.

You are really nice to be patient with her society beliefs. When her personal beliefs hurt you, can she reason at all? If you reason with her a little at a time every time, will she stop picking on you when she sees you disagree with the reasoning? Constant bickering could be a refreshing change from major blow outs plus it might convince her to stop verbally abusing you. It is also a form of venting stress instead of letting it build up. One tip, she sounds a little narcissist so you’ll be better off only to reason with her when your “side of the street” is perfect. Like, if you were not up to par one day, that might not be the day to bicker. But if you have behaved impeccably, then okay to reason with her because she won’t be able to “hook” you and blame you, as narcissists do to win arguments.

Misery loves company and she is miserable so be prepared that as you change, she could become uncomfortable and try to make you mad too, but that is just part of the process to get to a more respectful relationship. Also, don’t be afraid on occasion to let her suffer her own consequences. You can follow it up with, “Well, you said I never help you with that, so today I decided to see how it goes when you do it on your own”. Important to keep a straight face and keep all bitterness or gotcha out of the feelings. It’s hard to be politic/neutral to someone who is abusive, but you have to, if you want their respect. It’s a terrible thing trying to earn the respect of a yucky person but in the end, they change forever for the better, with a clearer understanding, so I guess it’s worth it. Very few people have the patience for it.

It is easier if you have back-up, so even though your place is small, bring a guy friend home for dinner when tensions are high, as that will keep things calmer, like having an escort. Also, let her come to your office on occasion after you have pals there that have been warned about her. What a great idea, that office space.

For stress relief, alternate a very warm shower with very cool water, back and forth. It cleans your bloodstream of impurities that come from stress hormones. Get one of those massage guns and try to get her to use it on you. Music. Fragrance. The more positivity you can bring in, the better because when she is bad, you can silently soothe yourself by recalling all of the positive things you have built for self-emotional support.

Make sure she gets her food stamps. You can live with someone and not share food. It is hundreds of dollars per month. You can share food on special occasions. Maybe a disability lawyer? They take payment after she is approved. Be sure to get your utility discount for low income, and remember food stamps comes with an unlimited cell phone. Don’t be afraid to claim unemployment benefits when needed. All of these are online nowadays, very little need for phone or car.

Try to get a friend to bring their dog over from time to time for short visits because while I don’t think a pet is the best idea right now (vet bills, and if she is targeted the pet might not be safe), but being with someone else and their pet might be a great experience. Keep your eye out for other pet opportunities, like some pets visit senior centers.

All senior homes have open doors, although usually visitors come to visit their family. Since the doors are open, you can ask for an Activities Calendar. If you go between 7-8PM, you can probably just go in and grab one off the lobby table or hanging file rack. Then come back on visiting pet day and just waltz in after signing in. Where is asks who you are visiting, just write “seniors and pets”. See how that goes. Depending on the facility, it could be a free, fun experience for you and your partner. She might be able to get a background check done and become a volunteer. Anyhow, music, fragrance, nature, pets, good sleep, hydration, stretching, a little ritual meditation or prayer each day, eating healthy, exercising and cutting back on caffeine all help reduce anger.

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I won’t ask where you live but check the privacy laws if you think recording what she says would be useful. Audio is usually covered as a 1 party consent rule with certain exceptions. So long as you are the one recording (hence, the 1) in a one party state, you have a right to make it without her approval. Keep copies with as many trusted individuals as you can. You have to have the recordings verified for security and evidence of tampering in court. Also, always keep back ups of your back ups incase they get lost/corrupted.

It’s also worth pointing out, her voices, while not direted at you from a healthy mind, are a form of abuse. It is one that she can’t really control or understand BUT I know it can be overwhelming to the point of suicidal ideation and all the problems that that leads to.

Having been committed voluntarily to the open side of a ward once, I have a will to go on despite how awful my situation seems. Seeing people permanently scared or on meds for kidney damage because their suicide attempt failed has made me fight for counseling and treatment for myself no matter what. My thoughts are from environmental stressors as much as it is an underlying disease pathology in and of itself.

Take care.

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