Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

I know he will be greedy for my time over Christmas

My (undiagnosed) ex thinks I live the other end of the country (I didn’t lie to him, he got the wrong idea from nosing through some papers of mine and I knew I would get more peace and quiet if I let him carry on believing it), and he thinks I will be “home for Christmas” to see my family, who live only a few miles away from him. We speak on the phone twice a week, but he would demand more of my time if I picked up when he calls in between scheduled times.

Our relationship was dogged by his demands on my time and attention and it was his intense clinginess and neediness that drove me to leave five years ago, rather than the SZ characteristics, which were already evident.

Last Christmas my family concocted some story about how I’d be home for a week before having to “get the train back”, and apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day he managed to absorb almost the whole week for himself - hours long phone calls, days out, even engineering me staying at his flat for 3 days and even “conveniently” managing to discover a leaking sink pipe that he spent hours repairing, and requiring me to hold a lamp, instead of driving me back to my parents’ house on the day my sister came over to visit, so that I missed her.

Now he is pestering me to tell me when I will be “home for Christmas” this year. We spoke this morning and he said that we “always” see each other for a few days before and after Christmas, and he started going on about how it looked like I was going to “deprive” him of any time together before Christmas and only see him for a few days afterwards.

The reason I left was because he is oblivious to the concept of other people having boundaries and he just makes it impossible to set any or stick to them, and I just find the amount of time and attention he demands exhausting. It would be nice to see him over Christmas, but I don’t want the whole holiday to be about him. And yes, I really do want to see my sister this year!

So, what I’m trying to work out is what days I am “home” - just enough to not be mean, but not so many that I end up exhausted. I’m thinking “arrive” 24th, spend the day with family 25th & 26th, suggest I am available - until when?

Your plan is wise. You are ultimately in complete control over your own time! Rehearse what you will say when confronted with demands of your time that you do not desire to give in to.

You are doing what’s best for you, while also showing care for others. Nothing wrong there.

I sometimes don’t tell my son when I have a day off, otherwise he will plan for us to go out, spend money, and leave me feeling resentful.

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