I left my partner five years ago because his behaviour towards me had deteriorated, and for a number of years I wondered if he was an abusive partner because much of his behaviour fit the definition of “coercive control”: paranoid, controlling, jealous and micromanaging. However, I read deeply about abuse and his behaviour did not fit many of the classic abuser profile, i.e. the cycle of abuse. I also had some very unhelpful “advice”, or lack of, on spousal abuse forums telling me basically how to live my life instead of the sort of day-to-day practical support I was hoping for, i.e what to say to him to calm him down, etc. In particular, there is a self-styled spousal abuse “expert” author out there with no mental health qualifications that I am aware of who makes people phone her personally, no matter where they live in the world, before they are “permitted” to join her support forum. Eventually, and without receiving any support from anywhere, I left my partner of my own accord, and not because I no longer loved him, but because I wasn’t able to live my life.
It is only now that I have graduated in a mental health related field, and having studied about SZ as part of my degree, that I am very sure that my ex husband is schizophrenic, rather than an abuser (yes, I am aware that the two are not mutually exclusive, of course). While obviously aware that the designation “paranoid schizophrenic” is not included in the DSM-5, it describes my ex partner to a T.
It is unlikely that he will ever receive a diagnosis because (a) he doesn’t trust doctors, (b) he is very anti-drugs and would not take that sort of medication for religious reasons, and © he is able to live independently despite having physical mobility limitations (he can walk short distances on crutches and can drive an ordinary unmodified car). I am the only person he trusts completely, and therefore I am the only one who is privy to many of his symptoms. We do not live together, but talk on the phone and I feel I am one of the few people who can support him.
I realise I probably know more about SZ than many, so I am not coming here so much to ask questions as to find a community of family members and carers who know what I’ve been living through.