Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Ideas on what to say?

I cant listen if he says nothing. How do I engage him in a conversation when he covers his face to not see me anytime I am in a room with him?

Sometimes I was happy to sit in silence with my daughter. She knew I was there during those quiet times when she let me be near her. It was much better than being locked out of her room.

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Thank you for the feedback.

@ToThrive In regard to conversation: Baby steps. Being in his presence without prodding for information. Remaining calm and patient and being willing to let things go that don’t matter right now unless they severely affect his health or yours. Focus on other things instead of on his making eye contact or talking with you. Use of “I” statements. Example “I feel worried when you don’t eat.” You know him best, but occasional words of reassurance from you. More patience. I fully expect he will eventually engage with you unless he has some extreme paranoia about that.

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Thank you for the feedback. I needed to hear that.

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My son does the same thing! I am currently reading a book “I’m not sick,I don’t need help”. Not only is it giving me insight to the disease, it is also offering ways to connect. The big thing- you can’t make him feel trapped. Our definition of trapped is different than theirs. No eye contact, don’t block the doorway etc. When my son hides his face behind his pillow, I have sat outside of his room and talked. Well, more I listened to his rants. Good luck to you. Its hard, but you are not alone. We all have our stories.

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@Tippy,

A point of clarification: you should be careful not to make him more trapped. He likely already feels trapped in many ways, and you don’t want your actions to add to those thoughts and feelings. When I first read your statement, I thought you were saying that caregivers couldn’t act in ways that make people with SZ feel trapped, but it seems you meant the opposite. Clarity and simplicity in wording is important when practicing LEAP as people with SZ often strain to listen and follow conversations and can be confused by ambiguous language due to cognitive deficits.

I caution also to avoid sweeping generalizations like “their definition of trapped is different than ours”. First, even people without a SZ DX have varied opinions of what actions make them feel trapped. Second, people with SZ are individuals and behave differently. Third the point of LEAP is to learn and understand how people under your care think and feel and what motivates them as individuals, and not project or create general models of how people with SZ think and feel. The less you think of him as his disease, and more as a person responding to symptoms of his disease, the further you’ll go with LEAP.

Suffice it to say people under stress who withdraw regardless of what trauma caused it, real or imagined, should be approached with care, compassion and respect for their wishes to the best of your abilities.