Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How to help? How to cope?

My boyfriend is undiagnosed with schizophrenia, but he’s told me of hallucinations and voices that lead him to believe he is. I am not schizophrenic. I suffer from anxiety, but that’s about it. Our relationship isn’t the most healthy - the good times are often overshadowed by the bad. So far, his illness hasn’t made a tremendous impact. But I fear that it will, and it’s very difficult for me to not think about the worst case scenario. He oftentimes diminishes and dismisses my worries about what could happen. I see his point and I don’t dwell on future outcomes, but it is also not fair of him to treat me as if my concerns are not valid.

He also has an obsession with women outside the relationship. Constantly speaking to and giving compliments to other women online to increase his self worth. Uploading selfies for likes to increase his self worth. I’ve told him many times he cannot be trusted on social media, due to the way he conducts himself towards other women. He continues to repeat the same pattern of behavior, despite telling him how I feel. I feel as though I will never know peace in this relationship. I love him to the core of who I am, but I feel deep down that this relationship is doomed.

I guess I’m asking for advice. I don’t know how to deal with his illness or how to be a good support system for him. He has no family to speak of, other than me and our daughter. At this point, I’m thankful we are not married. I hate to sound cruel, but I don’t think I could be okay with being stuck with him if the worst possible outcome did indeed happen. I don’t know how to trust him anymore. I feel like I am always in a competition for his attention. I feel like I am worthy of much more than what he is currently able to give me. My immense love for him keeps me here, but I can’t say for how much longer. And it absolutely breaks my heart to think that this could be ending. But at the same time, I deserve a man who won’t betray my trust time and time again. I deserve someone who doesn’t base their self worth on the likes he gets on photos. I deserve to be complimented, instead of watching him compliment other women online while I receive none.

I realize in some ways, what I expect is selfish. I realize not everything he does is related to his illness. But I am at such a loss on what to do or where to turn. I appreciate all and any who read this and take the time to respond. Thank you.

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If he thinks he has SZ, then he still has insight. He could lose that and think nothing’s wrong with him.

You should talk to him about getting evaluated. Tell him that as long as he’s not a danger to himself or others, they can’t force him to go to the hospital. Sometimes, we can’t get our family members in the hospital when they don’t want to go even when they are dangerous. Even if they prescribe him meds, no one can force him to take them. But, wouldn’t it be nice to know?

Lots of things can cause you to be psychotic besides SZ - severe depression, bipolar, some physical problems. It’s always best to know.

AS far as the other women, psychosis can affect impulse control, cognition, make people hypersexual, etc.

It sounds like you guys are doing pretty good all things considered, so maybe whatever is going on with him is mild and can be easily treated. Most people refuse treatment at first because it’s scary, and a lot of people find it embarrassing. Or, they think they’re the only one with a problem. Maybe if you can ease his fears, he’ll get some good help.


I agree with you. You need to either leave or give him an ultimatum. You don’t deserve that at all.

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He has been to a psychologist and got a full examination and diagnosis. PTSD with alcoholism. Severe depression. But he later informed me that he lied during the exam, and every other category is ranked as clinical on his paperwork for sz, except halluctions where he claimed he lied. He said he’s had hallucinations since around age 8. I personally think he exhibits many symptoms of sz, especially the alienation of himself and lack of personal hygiene. But starting this whole journey with him has helped me realize that many mental disorders share many of the same symptoms.

The psychologist he saw told him to follow up with therapy and a psychiatrist. He refuses to go to either one.

He does have a fear of losing his job (he’s the breadwinner, I’m a stay at home mom). I think I’ll mention that the next time it comes up. He believes if he’s voluntarily committed, he won’t be able to leave until a doctor tells him so. He thinks that everyone else believes he’s crazy. I don’t. I think he has an illness and needs treatment. But I think his illness won’t let him believe me.

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None of the ultimatums I have ever given have worked. I guess I allow that though. I’m a pushover because I love and care for him.

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He’s not going to get committed if he admits he hallucinates.
And, he’s not going to get committed if he sees a psychiatrist.

They don’t say - hey, you’re crazy, we’re locking you up.

You literally have to be ready to immediately kill someone else or yourself - or be so sick you can’t function - before that happens, if it happens at all.

And, they don’t keep you in the hospital for long at all. Barely long enough to get you stable on meds, then you’re out the door.

On another note, I think the doctors expect you to lie. And, some people don’t realize they’re hallucinating. My son says he sees through other people’s heads. If he sees something & knows it isn’t there, he reasons that someone else must be seeing it, he must be seeing it through their eyes, and therefore he’s psychic.

If you voluntarily check yourself into the hospital, you can check yourself out, but you have to give 48 hours notice that you want to leave. In that time, if the doctor disagrees strongly enough, they can have you involuntarily committed.

But, the bigger thing to get your boyfriend to understand is that he’s nowhere sick enough to be committed. There are all kinds of laws surrounding it, and it’s actually very hard to get someone in the hospital & even harder to keep them there.

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I understand what you’re going through because I’ve also been there, but if that doesn’t work and if you don’t get him medical treatment, the best thing that you can do for yourself and for your daughter is to leave him.

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There’s a book called I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help by Dr Xaviar Amador that might help you get him to agree to treatment. There are also videos. There are some links here on another thread - I’ll see if I can find it.

EDIT: See this thread for the links.

I think that’s his biggest fear. He’s afraid he’ll go in and never come out. And my biggest fear is that happening years down the road after never getting any treatment.

I’ve heard some people say the diseases worsens and other say it improves as it progresses. I have no way of knowing, but I think everyone worries about it getting worse. And I don’t even know what any of his triggers are or what his psychosis really looks like.

I have a fear of the unknown, a fear of leaving my daughter alone with him god forbid something happens and it’s his fault. I don’t know where or if he draws any lines, what he sees or goes through and how he makes the distinction between what’s real and what’s not. Or if this is any difference. It’s hard for me to feel at ease if I don’t know anything. He refuses to open up to me and talk about it, so it’s a lot of guesswork on my end. I’ve even suggested couples counseling to improve our communication skills, and he never even responds to the idea of it. It’s really easy to feel hopeless.

He won’t go in & never come out.

The last time my son went in, he had only slept 4 hours out of every 48 for 8 days.
He would sit there & laugh to himself (or to the voices), he was saying he was God or Jesus or the Devil (it alternated), all kinds of things. He couldn’t stop pacing, he was barely eating, all kinds of things were going on.

They kept him 8 days.

He’s been in the hospital 5 times in the past 10 months trying to get his meds straight. 14/15 days was the longest they kept him.

And, this was the first time he had went into the hospital. For the 12 years before that, he only saw a psychiatrist and they managed his meds. We did that through is first 3 psychotic breaks - he would stop sleeping (that’s a theme for him), then after a few days get really paranoid and think people were coming to kill him. He’d talk about time travel, reading minds, the whole 9 yards. As long as he wasn’t hurting himself or wanting to hurt someone else, his doctor worked with us on an outpatient basis.

That started when he was 15. Then, when he was 18, he got on a good medication & stayed pretty stable until he was 27. The med stopped working, things got much, much worse, and the hospital was the only option.

I was scared of the hospital too, but it’s really not bad in there.

As far as getting better or worse, it’s very individual - some people get better as the get older, some people get worse. You can’t predict what will happen.

I think my son’s father has a very mild version of what our son has. He functioned well, as your boyfriend does, worked & had friends - but he would have random periods of paranoia that weren’t bizarre. Like all of a sudden, I would be out to get him or a friend would be, or I was cheating with people I didn’t even know. Around 44/45, it stopped like someone cut off a switch.

Bipolar runs rampant on his side of the family, so I think he had a touch. Our son has a paranoid schizophrenic diagnosis right now, but I honestly think schizoaffective fits better (combination of bipolar & SZ). While he was more stable, his diagnosis was major depression with psychotic features.

Either way, treatment will help your boyfriend. If he doesn’t want medication or hospitalization, it doesn’t sound like either will be pushed on him. And, from what I hear, therapy can help a lot if you’re capable of doing the therapy. If he’s working, he should be capable - willing would be the issue.

I don’t think he’s unwilling. I think he’s unmotivated. And I find it very sad, because I know he doesn’t want to live like this. I think he resents me. I pushed him to go and get a diagnosis. Now all this has come to light and we argue more than ever before. I don’t think he sees it as coming from a place of love. He constantly tells me I dehumanize him. That’s simply not the case.

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