Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How to cope with/best handle false accusations


#1

We have been through so much. After having him committed and required to take meds things were finally starting to look up. Unfortunately, after gaining a great deal of weight and convincing himself he doesn’t have schizophrenia he decided to go off of his meds. I was openly against this, but he was no longer under civil commitment and he somehow convinced his doctor to go with it. Thongs deteriorated very quickly and he was being tortured by his mind to the point where he wouldn’t/couldn’t sleep for multiple days so he went to the hospital and got some Seroquel and as far as I know 4 shots of Invega over a two month period. Also, Zoloft. He is now sleeping and functioning fairly okay, but we have some bad episodes in which he believes I am messing with him, talking about him, etc. He become very aggitated and aggressive. Most times I can distract him and change the subject, but other times I lose my cool and explode. Pretty much going against everything I’ve read about as far as how to handle these situations. I will scream about it not being real, him needing to listen to his doctor and take the other psych meds she prescribed that he refuses to take, telling him he is schizophrenic even if he doesn’t want to believe it. I’m awful, but I’m human and I have no support system from anyone so sometimes I make huge mistakes. How do you cope when there delusions involve you? How do you stay calm and not react? I’m still new at this. He is 26 and has been on meds since he was 21 only going off the meds about 6 months ago, so dealing with relapse is not something I’m experienced with. Also, I’m only 3 years older so I feel like my age is also making it hard for me to stay at 0 when he is at 100. Please help.


#2

Sorry about the sloppiness and the misspelled words. I’m so tired.


#3

Many of us can’t stay at 0, many of us have spouses who can’t stay at 0. Many siblings can’t stay at 0 either.

My son’s delusions involve me - used to be it was just his dad, now its both of us. Even with me being one of the 0 folk. My husband gets excited, he is not one of the 0 folk and he is in his late 50’s.

How to not get caught up in their episodes usually requires going into your own space. Sounds like he lives with you - can you retreat to your bedroom? When my son lived with us, my bedroom was my refuge. I spent a lot of time back there when he was having episodes.

The delusions that accuse you are all the scz - its not your reality, its his and for him it is real.

Personally, I would retreat and not attempt the distraction. How does he become aggressive? Does he threaten you? Has he hurt you?


#4

When you say “I lose my cool and explode” simply makes thing worse. There is no cure, you might just settle down and learn to live with it as it will never change and will only cycle from good to bad for the rest of your life…


#5

You have my support! I can relate big time with it being hard to stay at “0” emotionally when your sibling is in your face accusing you of seemingly and outrageously ridiculous things…like one time, two and a half years ago, I went into my sister’s room to pick up and throw away her trash for her…Unbeknownst to me she was saving the small broken pieces in a plastic grocery bag (like ones we have always used for trash) of the mirror she smashed in her room. Naturally, I assumed the pieces were gathered up to be thrown out (sharp glass, right?), so I threw the bag out and it got collected with the trash pick up the next morning…well, boy was I in for it. When she later realized the bag of broken mirror was missing, she demanded I come up to her room and explain to her where it was. She was furious when I told her I threw it away. She told me she had special plans to make a collage out if the pieces…but no one told me this. She didn’t care. She demanded I retrieve the pieces from the trash. I was very apologetic but the more furious she got, then I started to get angry. I was trying to watch a movie downstairs and when she came to approach me about it again, I told her to “F off!” Then I felt really bad when she went outside to her car to smoke. She’s so sensitive so I’ve had to just pray everyday and every hour sometimes for God to help me see her through his eyes, especially when she flies off the handle for whatever reason. I have to look at her heart and not what her face says. You have an advantage I feel because you’re older than your brother. I’m just a year and some months younger, and I’ve always been her “little brother,” but I’m putting aside that identity and taking more action to not enable and cater to my sister’s illness anymore.


#6

He has threatened to strangle me or hire someone to beat me up. This all because his delusions make him believe I’m against him, saying bad things doing bad things against him. In the past I’ve called the police, but he has always managed to convince the officer that there is no trouble. I should have called again last night, but in the midst of it I didn’t think to. I live in another state do to school so now instead of living with me, he goes back and fourth between my mom and my dad’s place which causes a lot of stress and fear for the both of them. Especially my ma. She is a little women and he becomes aggressive with her also because of his delusions. Living in another state makes it hard for me to help. I am visiting now. His doctor wants to put him on more or a different Psych meds, but he refuses and became very angry with her for implying he needs different meds and that the ones he is taking are not working. I also believe that for the first time since this all began, I am beginning to realize that he may never live a fairly normal life. He has always dreamed of falling in love, getting married, having children. I’m not sure he will be able to achieve these goals with this illness and how it effects him. That is a hard thing to imagine. Someone you care about deeply, not being happy.


#7

My husband was very paranoid about everyone. Always thought people were poising him. I told him that I would never do that to him. If he wanted to he could go ahead and do all the cooking (that got his attention!).
I also told him that I wouldn’t take the time to posin him, I’d just leave. And he never accused me of poisoning his food ever!
He did continually accuse me of talking about him, usually to my parents, on the phone or in the nex room. I’ve learned from this site that he was experiencing a type of auditory hullicinatiom. I could not convince him that I was not talking about him😡 This s was the source of many arguments!


#8

It takes a long time, but you’ll eventually get to the point where you learn to not engage because it just makes things worse.
And, it’s very hard to not get swept up in whatever’s going on with them - to stop taking it personally or feeling the need to “fix” everything.

The Dr Amador “I’m not sick, I don’t need help” book that is recommended here to help people who lack insight has some great pointers that I’ve used to diffuse some situations.

I can’t follow the LEAP method it teaches exactly, but the active listening does help calm my son down. I don’t know if it will work with everything.

And, I apologize a lot without actually accepting blame or feeling any kind of guilt.

I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m sorry I don’t remember that. I’m sorry - I’ll try to do better. I’m sorry - I didn’t know.

When he’s more stable, there’s much less of that and sometimes he apologizes.

Anyway, the book is short & very practical. Some people have better luck with it than others - it’s a real struggle for me. And, there are videos on this site & on the net. Maybe it’ll help you out.

I’ll see if I can find a thread with links to the video & point you guys to it.

EDIT: My son refuses treatment for mental illness. How do you help?


#9

Try to sign up for a Family to Family class where you go to school. The information is helpful and isn’t just aimed at parents. Siblings make up a good part of the attendees.

The information at Family to Family will help you understand the illness and help you understand your brother’s possibilities and limitations.

Keep yourself safe. My personal rule is that the threats are serious, its the illness threatening you, not your brother. Encourage your parents to attend Family to Family if they haven’t already.


#10

That happened to me. At first, I yelled back. I argued.

Then I learned how to communicate, how to cope, how to be calm and (not) argue. Learning these things is a process. It’s probably harder in a sibling relationship.

You are doing well because you know you are not helping the illness by engaging in a confrontational manner.


#11

Don’t beat yourself up when you explode. Of course we all know that is the worst thing to do, but hey no one is perfect, right?
My son has had some wild delusions about me. Most of the time I am non committal and don’t take it personally, but today I was tired and headachy so when he started, I snapped I don’t have time for this, I have a headache. Much to my surprise he backed down and went about his day. Later he asked if I still had a headache.
My point is, they are afraid most of the time and trying to figure things out and come up with some really strange ideas. If we take it personally to them that is proof they are right. And the more you try to prove they are wrong, the more sure they are right. It just becomes an exhausting battle of wills.
Often I just say things like, oh really or how did you decide that or why do you think that about me and then pretty much let it go. After all, I know I didn’t do most of the things he thinks. And sometimes I may have done something innocently that he took to heart. Then I just say I am sorry.
This just applies to more of the day to day stuff we deal with in a non aggressive manner. If he is acting or you believe he will act on any of his aggressive behavior, call the police. It might also be worthwhile to check on your community services in dealing with mentally ill prior to a situation of violence. Some communities have separate crisis teams. Mentally ill or not, aggression is not tolerable. And a psychotic break is a whole other story and requires medical intervention.


#12

Thank you for the advice. I appreciate it.


#13

First off, I can’t tell you how proud I am of you for taking care of your sibling and wanting to do your best. I’ve learned and still learning. I have to learn to relate first and then “try” to parent. We are our friends only companions unfortunately.
You will have ups and downs. Celebrate the ups. If you can leave or separate when they are agitated, it does help me. Finding your own space was very good advice. I used this yesterday. Sometimes it takes my husband prying him away or visa versa. God bless you and your sister.