Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How to approach the caregivers?

Hi. My best friend S suffers from sz. He just got out of jail and put on probation requiring treatment and taking medication. He’s in his 30s, and he lives with his 60s parents. They have responded to this situation by cacooning him from the world. They don’t want any of his friends to contact him – and they are the total gatekeeper right now, no access to him except through them.

A week or two ago I e-mailed his parents and asked them to see if S was willing to communicate with me at present, and they have not responded to me. I want S to at least know that he has many friends who care for him and have not abandoned him because of his illness. But it seems his caregivers want him isolated for one reason or another and aren’t willing to talk to anyone.

What should I do? How should I approach his parents in the most productive way?

S’s delusion when he was psychotic largely focused on me, and his mother once told me that she blamed me for his illness. So I don’t really trust them to take care of him, not with ideas like that. Is there anything I can do? Should I try to brute force my way to him? Because that sounds like it would not go well. But I do not like the idea of S being so isolated. Isn’t socializing and having a big support group a very positive thing? Why do the caregivers want him away? Why don’t they respond to me?

I don’t know what to do.

I don’t know what you can do. It;s too bad he is being taken care of by irrational parents. Maybe they are trying to keep things calm and their son will miraculously recover that way. No, I don’t think force will work toward the good.

Maybe not you, who were involved in his delusion, but one of his other friends who wasn’t involved at all, would be a person to approach the parents and visit him.

Pob, thank-you for replying. :heart:

An uninvolved friend has tried to approach and make contact, and was shown he was not welcome by the parents. He did get to briefly see S, under a parent’s observation, only long enough to hand S his phone number (he already had the phone number, but it was symbolic).

But S’s phone has been disconnected. And his e-mail accounts have been deleted.

If his parents just said to me; “We’re doing this because we think it’s best – so deal with it” then I’d handle it better than the total silence I get, even if I disagreed.

Because I was a focal point of his paranoia, I respect that my connection with him will take a long time to heal, that he may not want to see me, or have lingering paranoia about me. I respect that, and I’m willing to stand aside – being available should he change his mind – for years. I don’t mind doing what I have to. Including staying away. It’s just this silence. I fill that silence up with worry for S. I get anxious considering his safety and wish I could know how he is doing. I love him like a brother, and … it’s just hard.

Accept the silence. Wait. Go about your life. He’s bound to get out of the house some time

This poor friend. He might be feeling like because he’s ill… everyone has turned tail and ran… only it’s not the case… it’s his parents cutting all contact.

I’ve never heard a parents doing this so I’m a bit stumped for ideas. Isolation is not going to be healthy for this friend. To bad there wasn’t a way to let the parents know this.

I can certainly sympathize with your situation. I’m sure my son’s grandmother thinks that she is doing what is best for my son as she is only taking into consideration my son’s not-so-stable point of view. Sometimes caregivers can’t see beyond their own feelings and are reacting to circumstance that they can’t understand.

I would say to keep trying and hope that one day S will want to reach out to you on his own. :purple_heart:

I would suggest it is probably a very good idea for you to keep your distance then. Your ongoing presence will likely prevent meaningful recovery. Sometimes the best way to help is from a distance.


In all honesty sounds like the best you can do is love him from afar, and stay away for now. Schizophrenia changes a lot about a person, and hes going to have his own struggle to deal with, with meds and getting life back together. It usually takes awhile to get better from the meds, and if the delusions had to do with you then you dont want to make them worse by coming around more. Let him get better, when he gets better he can make his own decisions. Until then, sounds like only benefit to talking to him would probably come on your end for now (as hes likely still psychotic if he cant pick up the phone and have a conversation with you_

You sound like a caring friend just up till you mention using “brute force” to get access to someone who is currently ill, probably unstable and traumatized, and already suffering from paranoia connected with you. At that point you lost all credibility. Does it all have to be about you?

If I were his parents I would be doing the same about you or anyone connected with you. In fact, if they could read what you posted here, they should be down the lawyers office preparing the injunction against you.

Stop harassing and threatening him and his family. It’s not all about you.

Read her post again, very carefully. Did any of your friends ever threaten “brute force” against your family?

I’m not sure that literally translating brute force into extreme acts of violence is needed. Maybe not the right choice of wording but still this person is looking for support on how to help a friend. Let’s try to be supportive instead of judgmental.

This forum is for support of carers and family. Brute force is violence. I don’t accept advocating violence against two carers who are 30 years older than you - presuming he/she is his/her friend’s contemporary. I don’t accept even considering it. On this forum, we only ever hear the side of the poster (with the notable exception of kid sister and SurprisedJ. But even in this poster’s own version, there are parts that are extremely dubious. I am pointing that out.

It doesn’t have to be “extreme acts of violence”. Even forcing your way into someone’s house, even a bit of pushing and shoving is NOT OK. It’s not “supporting a friend”.

Note that the parents DID allow someone else to see their son. Note that means he may not be so totally isolated. Note that their son may have closed down and changed his email and phone so that this person, around whom his paranoia revolves, cannot get to him.

There’s too much self-contradiction in this first post. I am not buying it.

I apologize for the harm my turn of phrase has caused you and anyone else that may have been so offended. My background is in computers, and the term brute force is a technical term in that field to mean finding a solution by trial and error instead of by foreknowledge. I intended no violence what so ever. Again, I apologize for my poor choice of words in this context.


P.S. Clarification of original post: I can accept staying away if that is what is best for my friend, but that has not been told to me by anyone involved. They literally just ignore me (so far anyway). My concern for my friend is that this isolation is not just tied to me, but from what other friends have told me, is a universal policy at the moment. His parents will not respond to anyone – not answer the phone, not answer e-mail, and if you knock on the door, they just ask you to leave. This is not just related to me, but to everyone S knows. If there was some real reason for it, I think his parents could just tell someone. We’ve given them many opportunities. They must have a reason, good or not. But I don’t get their reason for not telling all the other people who love and care for S.

Thank-you for your consideration, BarbieBF. It was just a poor choice of words.

Ok, where I live, if you want to help a family with a member who is ill, you cook a good dish and take it round and offer it to them. And you can do that once a week or once every two weeks until their hearts soften toward you. If you want to help them, that’s help, not crashing in and demanding to see someone. Why don’t you try that? It used to be traditional in the US and Canada, too.

Hatty’s last idea was a good one. I’m sure your friend’s parents were scared and still trying to figure things out. Were you able to finally reconnect with your friend?
My dilemma is the opposite. My son, who is stable right now, is content to stay in his room almost all the time. I feel like he is missing so much. Is there anything I can do? Or should I do anything?

Thanks for the comments. =)

Mamakaye, I was able to contact my friend after a couple months passed, and he told me he didn’t think it would be good for him to interact with me, and asked that I leave him be. I have respected his wishes. It’s been a long time (seems forever) since I was asked away by him, and I do still miss him and think of him; but I do require myself to respect his wishes. If I was his caregiver, that might be different, but finding myself an outsider, I think it’s my only real option. I have told him he is always welcome to change his mind and contact me. And every three months I send a short email to his parents wishing them all well (basically to remind them that I’m here if they need me, but not to butt in).

I think your dilemma is very normal, almost universal. I think a lot of people here will understand it and offer some good advice. I wish you the best, with love and patience.