Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

I'm at a Crossroads

Good morning to all. I am in need of input as I am at a crossroads. My son is 18, living with me and his (biological) dad. He is med complaint and has insight. I think, as far as schizophrenics go, he is fairly easy to manage. He has the typical lack of hygiene issues, lots of anxiety, but is fairly stable. He has little social interaction besides me and his dad and an occasional visit with his older brother who lives nearby. The problem is: my husband is bipolar, overreacts to every (and I do mean every) little thing. He says things like “I didn’t see my life like this.” “I am going to be stuck with this kid for the rest of my life.” My son has heard some of these hurtful comments and feels very unwanted by his dad. I have tried to get help through mental health organizations (we live in Oklahoma) and what they offer in the county we live in is limited. I applied for disability for my son and he was denied (1st time and we are appealing). My son was violent in the past in the summer of 2017 (he was on adderall at the time as he is also ADHD) and the doctor believes the adderall made him violent. He did receive some time in an E-level home as a result of the violence (he was choking his dad and had scissors up against my throat). He hasn’t been violent in the past 10 months but my husband taunts him and says things like “hit me motherf$&cker” to try to get our son to assault him. I know probably the best thing would be for either a) my son and I to get housing together elsewhere b) my son to get housing alone elsewhere. My question is: has anyone gone through a divorce with an adult mentally ill child in the equation? Does that give you more rights/support? Would my husband have to keep him on his health insurance until such a time he is granted disability and goes on Medicare? Any input you all have, I would love to hear it. I am beyond worn out living w/ 2 mentally ill people but frankly my husband is way harder to deal w/ than my son. He is combative, bitter, filled with anger and unforgiveness, and has a vicious tongue at times. He is also an alcoholic. He is actually seeing a therapist weekly right now, but I am not very hopeful that he can or will change. Thanks for listening.

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If your son is lucky enough to be able to work and make his own home run independently, that would be the easy answer.
If not, you do have a few objectives ahead of you:

  1. Continue with the appeal for disability. It’s a challenge to get in front of a judge with a more cognizant Schizophrenic, but they -will- eventually hear your case and grant disability benefits.
  2. Determine what level of independence your son is capable of and maximize the things he does every day independently.
  3. Help yourself, your son and your husband all enjoy a more peaceful home.

I know you already know all of that, but I think it’s important to break things down to objectives.

Sounds like you are already on track with applying for disability, don’t give up.

It seems like your son’s level of independence is hard to determine, as it is with most Schizophrenics. Encouraging him to volunteer, find cheap / free hobbies, or work an easy part time job could cultivate his independence. The balance to that is whether he might end up feeling overwhelmed by those things, so try to keep your expectations low and avoid pressing too hard. Offering inspiration, encouragement and support consistently helps. Being pushy is counterproductive.

Finally, regarding your husband’s unwillingness to be encouraging and supportive,
Have you considered a brief separation to create some (seemingly needed) additional personal space?
I am absolutely not about to start pressing anyone into taking any actions regarding marriage, especially not divorce. However, I do realize that it can be really difficult to organize one’s thoughts when they are surrounded by chaos.
Maybe spending a few days apart would help. It can be presented as a method of providing peace in the home and time to think; without having to lay down ultimatums (“do X or I’m leaving forever” type statements).

The feeling of being at a crossroads is generally initiated by anxiety. Fearing the worst of outcomes and recognizing the need to take direct action. For now, while you’re somewhat under duress and trying to cope with stress; try not to make “do or die” type decisions. If you can achieve the kind of results you need by staying with a family member or a friend (or even a hotel) for a few days, I think it’s worth a try over initiating divorce (and all the lawyers, court and fees and stress and emotions that go with it).

Not that I have any sagely wisdom on the subjects.
Just that I think it’s worth talking about, considering you reached out.

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This is heartbreakingly difficult. In our situation my husband has generalized anxiety disorder and my sz son is not his biological son.

We married prior to the onset of son’s illness, but my husband had said things over the years that has put a distance between them. It ratcheted up son’s paranoia. While they love each other, it was really hard work to get them to have empathy towards each other because both have a mental illness. Both have self medicated with alcohol. That makes a bad situation much more difficult. Both realize it though and are working at not doing so. Hubs more successful than son.

I feel bad for you feeling as you have to choose. And I get living in a situation with multiple mental health issues as we also have mom with Alzheimer dementia living with us. Could you also find a therapist?

I cannot tell you to stay married or to divorce. But can tell you divorce will not make your situation better…just different.

Practically speaking though, keeping him on your husbands health care plan depends on the language of the contract. Some plans keep children on until 26 others drop dependent coverage at 18 if not attending FT college married or divorced. Typically to retain coverage for an adult disabled child the disability has to occur before age 18. The court could mandate he keep coverage if possible through his plan or pay out of pocket, but it really is up to the judge.

It will take at least one appeal for disability, possibly more due to your son’s young age. Also due to his age and disability it will be subject to periodic reviews. If it is granted he will get Medicare part A, but you will have to pay the premium for part B. Once he has disability apply to be his rep payee.

Ultimately though, whatever course you take, you will want to have your son live independently. Try to work on a plan for that goal.

Again I am so sorry you are in the position you are and I hope things do improve with therapy.

My ex husband suffered from psychotic episodes (after we were married) from his late 20s and by that time, my son had been born. Now my son has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic (ongoing change of diagnoses since he was 9, and now 39), currently on Clozapine, but due to the side effects, we are weaning him off and going to try another medicine. I went through my personnel office and had my son’s coverage extended for (his) life and if I die before him, he will have the option to continue that coverage. His primary is Medicare with my insurance as secondary. One thing you might do is to call a State Mental Hospital and ask them if they have a family support group affiliated with the hospital as we do here in Florida. If not, they probably have a listing of support groups in your area. You may have already checked through NAMI to see if there is a group close to you. At least you know some of the medical history associated with your husband and possibly his family. My ex was adopted and they have no clue as to any background information that might have helped. By now, its a moot point anyway. You might also check with your state and find out if child support would continue on if the child is a disabled adult child. Many states have that provision. Get informed about the Baker Act and find out if your local police (who enforce the Baker Act) have CIT (Crisis Intervention Trained) officers and ask for them specifically if you have to call to have your son (or your husband for that matter) Baker Acted. My son is almost 6’8" and intimidating to many officers who’ve shown up at our home but one woman officer who was probably 5’6" ish, would just come to the door and say “now, you know you need to come with me…” and off he’d go. I had to learn by the seat of my pants and when some of the doctors see me, they will laughingly say I’m their worst nightmare because I go home and research the comments they’ve made, the medications my son is on, etc. I have contact the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) in Maryland to see if there are any studies nearby that might help. Hang in there but don’t be afraid to do what needs to be done. Take care,

Very good advice, especially trying to take some time apart without reaching drastic conclusions. Our 26th wedding anniversary was yesterday so it makes it very heartbreaking to me that we have made it this long and would be potentially giving up.

26 years is a really awesome thing!
I’ll try not to get all philosophical about relationships;
But I really believe there is a lot more wiggle room in relationships than most people acknowledge.
It’s not 100%, black and white, do or do not.
It’s super common for one person to give 100% while the other puts in 50%, in short stints of ebb and flow, anyway.
I think the problems start when people take each other for granted. This happens in all kinds of relationships; love, family, friends and work. Probably human nature to expect things to stay comfortable, just because they have been comfortable for a while.

Not saying any of this applies directly to your circumstances. But I do mean to point out that it’s very rarely a binary thing, do or do not. There’s a flow to it.
And there are all kinds of different loving relationships, not everything is the Hollywood version of either good or bad. Most people hit a stride with at least a few rules that would make a different kind of couple cringe.

There I go. Way too philosophical, but that’s what happens on the topic, I guess.

If you want to share / vent / ask questions, we’re here for you.


My friend did get more in her divorce settlement due to her adult son with scz being dependent on her.

Everyone says that disability takes a couple of attempts, I don’t know. I do know that they told us at Family to Family that it helps if they have a record of failed attempts at working. The doctor’s input to the process seems really important.

I am so glad your son is stabilized and so sorry that your husband is making life so difficult for both of you.