Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Husband thinks I am trying to kill him, please, please help


#1

My husband had his first psychotic episode and was hospitalised last year for a few weeks. On the drugs, the delusions disappeared but he had a hard time with the medication as it made him depressed. He came off it a few months ago and just this week they came back again. I think he is in psychosis again, but he isn’t a danger to himself or to others and he won’t take medication.

One of his delusions, the same as last time, is that I am evil, performing magic tricks and trying to kill him. This week has been hard, but up until today he has still shown me love. However, today he has just completely rejected me. He told me that he wants nothing more to do with me anymore, and doesn’t want me to look at him, touch him, be near him or ever speak to him again. He said it coldly, pushing me away from him.

We have been together for sixteen years, since we were teenagers, and I love him with all my heart. I have never, ever felt grief like this before. I just don’t know what to do. They won’t hospitalise him, I am sure, as he is entitled to his “beliefs” but he is throwing away our marriage on a delusional belief that has no basis in truth. Is there anything I can do? Is there any way to save my marriage from this horrific disease?


#2

Hello. I’m so sorry this has happened to you and your husband. In my opinion, the only thing that will save your marriage is antipsychotic medication.

Know the definition of “danger to self and others” in your state. Some states will allow forced hospitalization and forced treatment more easily than others, especially in regards to the “danger to self” criteria.

If you are threatened in any way, even verbally, take it seriously and immediately call the police. Tell them your husband is having a psychiatric emergency, so they are prepared and send trained officers. Tell them he went off his antipsychotic medication. Tell them he needs to go to a hospital for evaluation. Tell them you feel unsafe. Hold nothing back. Take the first opportunity you can.

In case you don’t know, some “negative symptoms” of schizophrenia are low motivation and flat affect. This can look like “depression” but it’s not necessarily from the meds. It’s from the disease.

The grieving is awful. We all understand. Try not to be held hostage by this illness. We all have to learn the art of detachment. You’ll get better at this. Good luck.


#3

Thank you for your reply. I am trying so hard not to take it personally, and I can handle
any other delusion but this one. It just hurts me so much. I tried to talk to him just there and it went okay for a while, then he accused me of using “buzzwords” against him and “abusing” him. The word that I apparently used against him was a simple verb. It’s impossible to communicate with him, as I have no idea which words he thinks are “buzzwords”, so anything I say could be misinterpreted. He also freaks out every time I even move my hands, so it’s difficult to say anything at all.

My husband is a really gentle person, even in psychosis, and he believes strongly in God, so he would never do anything to hurt himself or others. This is why it is so difficult to get him help.


#4

I’ve done everything wrong, but unintentionally. Here, they say never do anything behind the back of the patient because it breaks trust, but when my husband has been acting completely irrationally and saying things are are so bizarre, I have been so anxious to the point that I have not known what to do. So I called his doctor a few times, but now my husband is angry with me and I think it has contributed to this idea that he can’t trust me. But I just didn’t know what else to do. I feel so much grief. So, so much grief that at the moment I can’t move or think or do anything much but cry.


#5

Again, in my opinion, you didn’t do anything wrong by calling his doctor. I would do the same thing, a million times over, and I’m sure many others on this forum would too.

Your husband’s delusions about you are now fixed. So, in my opinion, being overly concerned about him trusting you is useless at this point. Do whatever you have to do to save him from himself. Once he’s again on meds, the trust will build back up.

Studies have strongly suggested that the longer a person experiences untreated psychosis, the worse the outcome.


#6

Imogen, I didn’t mention that a long period of psychosis is bad because I want to scare you. I mentioned it because my son’s long period of psychosis lead to cognitive impairment that is only just now starting to improve, after a year of steady AP meds.

I wish I’d taken more seriously the advice that my son’s first doc gave, that AP meds can “protect” the brain from damage due to psychosis. Unfortunately, I followed the advice of the second doc, the one who thought meds were “an option”.

Hindsight.


#7

I’m really sorry to hear things are so difficult.
Delusional states are really frustrating because they are fundamentally very irrational.
Clearly, it’s confusing and upsetting that your husband thinks you would betray him. I imagine the delusions are equally confusing and upsetting for him. Neither of you deserve to go through this.

Unfortunately, the theme of starting treatment and medication, then stopping is common to schizophrenia.
While the medication does come with side effects, I personally believe seeking brand changes and adjusting the frequency and method of therapy is a lot more productive than stopping treatment all together. I’m sure most family and care givers would agree, but those who are diagnosed often attribute very negative feelings toward treatment, especially during psychosis or when experincing delusions.
This was certainly a battle my brother fought for a long time. There were many occasions where my brother suddenly began to lose his trust in me. He felt suspicious, persecuted and like he needed to defend himself by becoming withdrawn from family and society.
Those were really stressful times. I tried to meet these struggles with consistent, even tempered tone of voice and attitude. I think that a person’s delusions and hallucinations are often very chaotic and swing from seeming very encouraging to becoming a source of torment very quickly. By being consistently reassuring that he didn’t deserve to feel persecuted and he shouldn’t have to struggle to make it through each day, he might eventually see me as a sorely needed source of predictability and security.
Obviously, this is a long-term approach that depends entirely on the diagnosed person eventually deciding they want someone to help them, or to confide in someone they trust completely. It won’t work as long as they are convinced by their delusions that you’re the source of their despair.

I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong. And I know that your husband will eventually appreciate all the hard work you are doing to try to help him regain his sense of security and better quality of life.
I know from the experiences my brother has shared with me that your husband can recover and his true, charming personality is still there. Right now, the delusions and possible hallucinations have a very real, very serious effect on him. They are experiences that are confusing and upsetting, possibly disturbing.
Keep looking for opportunities to help him reason through his delusions. If he asks you what you think about X philosophical theory, or Y conspiracy theory… Calmly voice that you disagree and give some simple reasons why those things aren’t true. If he accuses you of doing something to harm him which definitely isn’t true, calmly voice that and give simple reasons why it wouldn’t happen. If he voices frustration with something you have done, however outlandish, calmly state that you didn’t mean any harm and you don’t intend to upset him.
He’s probably enduring a lot of turmoil. It’s probably been going on for longer than you could have known.
If you can, reach out to other family members. Ask them to try to learn and understand the diagnosis and to help you form a web of support for your husband and yourself.

Things can turn around.
I’ve seen my brother regain much of his personality and a lot of his quality of life recently. I attribute it to a combination of his own strength and the effective web of support among family members.


#8

@Imogen In hindsight, I would have learned more about the illness earlier. We didn’t know about NAMI (family support group and Family-to-Family class) until things got disastrous. We didn’t know about the book “I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help” to help us talk with our son who was not med-compliant because his brain could not process that he was sick. So these things are always my advice: Get educational and other support (NAMI.org) and, for a loved one that has anogognosia (lack of insight…inability to see himself as being sick and needing help), read and try the psychology explained in the book (or start by looking at the website LEAPInstitute.org)!


#9

A second to what @hope4us said,
I wish I knew more about the disorder sooner.
I had no idea that someone could acknowledge their disorder one day, then believe the opposite the next.


#10

How long has he been considered mentally ill?