Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

I'm not sure how much longer I can live with my dysfunctional parents

I will try to make this summary quick, as I’ve likely told this story a thousand times within the last two years alone.

Almost nineteen years ago, two alcoholics with extremely rough upbringings got together and had me, willingly and prepared. Three years later, they had my little sister. Ever since my sister was born, my parents have been struggling with cocaine addictions that absolutely rule their entire lives. It ate up the man my father used to be and had turned my loving, bleeding heart of a mother into a lying, stealing, mentally ill stranger.

Since I can remember, my parents would damn near kill each other every single night. Blood all over the carpet and tiles. Shattered household objects. Overturned furniture. Every single night without fail. I think I was about five years old when I dialed 911 for the very first time. I became extremely familiar with the two people who raised and loved me for the first three years of my life tearing each other apart every waking moment.
We have a habit of letting our living environment go to complete waste. (Save for me and my sister’s room. We always keep it very clean.)
I have spoken to the police so many times in my life I have a script for when they arrive to my house.
My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar, and personality disorder. My father has never once been to a professional, so we have no idea what his diagnoses is. He wont admit that he has a weakness. Their constant bickering and my mother’s unbearable paranoia made it impossible for them to raise me, which included neither of them caring even the slightest when I came home with a story of being molested by an eighth grader (I was a seventh grader, if I remember correctly.)
At age thirteen, Child Protective Services took my sister and I away from my parents.
At fourteen, I was diagnosed with clinical depression.
At fifteen, I fell into my own addictions and became suicidal.
In the summer of 2014, my sister and I were released back into the custody of my father. My mother was in rehab at this time. I thought everything was going to be fine after this.
Spoiler alert, it got worse.
From age fifteen to seventeen, I had a boyfriend that was very bad for me and I later found out that my mother often slipped him drugs and cigarettes to enable his addictions.
My mother began to physically abuse me whenever I spoke out against her.
I’m eighteen now and things have gotten so much worse.

By the way, this is the extremely cut and dry version of the whole story.

My father brings drugs into the house daily and allows my SMI (seriously mentally ill) mother to use it without supervision. She never goes to her suboxone appointments anymore. She ignores everything her case manager tells her. She listens to the walls and dumps all of her emotional baggage on me. Without my mother to physically and verbally abuse, my father turns the focus on me. My little sister is in tears practically every single night because she knows she’ll never have a normal childhood. She is still a minor and my worst nightmare is seeing her get taken away by CPS again, which was a complete and utter nightmare in itself.
I’ve actively gone out of my way to usher myself through young adulthood, which includes getting myself enrolled in high school and college, teaching myself how to drive, teaching myself how to apply for a job, teaching myself how to take the bus, teaching my little sister how to ride the bus, etc… I have little to no help from my parents whatsoever and I just absolutely 100% cannot take it any longer.

I have a therapist (which I also had to sign myself up for through COPE) who later had me diagnosed with textbook PTSD. I have nightmares, panic attacks, and the anxiety level of a “war vet,” as she put it. She has heard every little painstaking detail of my story and she has reached a point where we both have our hands tied.
I have NO ONE to run away to. I have NO ONE willing to help me out. I have NO ONE who will teach me to drive. I have NO money. NO safe place to go to. I live in the ghetto, so walking outside is a coin toss with fate.

And, to give an example of how often this affects me on a daily basis, my mother has not slept in a week because of a recent relapse and came into my room an hour ago claiming that my father has recorded her and wirelessly broadcasted the recording across the apartment complex via radio signals. She later then smile at me, turned toward the door, and said, “don’t worry! I love you! Goodnight!” And shut the door quietly. My anxiety is now crazy high and I’ve just completely reached my limit.

Yes, I’ve tried telling her how I feel, contacting authorities, family therapy (which neither of my parents are willing to attend), physical intervention, mental intervention, emotional intervention, etc… Just about anything that I could try, I have tried.

I am desperately trying to find a way to cope with living in this house while I work myself through college. As soon as I possibly can, I am packing my bags and taking myself and my sister far away from this environment.

What I ask is this:

How can I cope with my mother’s paranoia and the voices that she hears? What can I tell her to make her feel more secure and relaxed? What should I do if she says or does something that upsets and disturbs me? Is there anything I can do to help her shut out the voices?

I’ve come to terms with the fact that my mother is beyond fixing. No amount of unconditional love and understanding will ever get through to her. Trust me. I’ve tried for eighteen years. I just need to find ways to cope with living with these two people. I love them both, but I’ve absolutely reached my limit. I have no idea what to do anymore.


Unconditional love and understanding don’t cure mental illness or addiction. Save those things for yourself, unconditionally love yourself and give yourself plenty of understanding and time to deal with your life. You have already come to some solid understandings.

You can’t control your mom’s mental illness. There aren’t any words that can make her feel more secure and relaxed. There isn’t anything you can do to help her shut out the voices. These things are all beyond your control. When she says things that upset you, you can only change how it affects you.

Try to stop thinking about ways to fix mom and dad. In my opinion, your plan is a good one, as soon as possible, pack your bags and take yourself and your sister far away.

Everyone won’t agree with this advice. Save yourself. Give yourself the love and caring you need. You are worth it. Hope


I want to support you in your search for a stable, calm home for yourself. I know you want to help your sister too.

As you have discovered, there is almost nothing you can do when a person with untreated SMI uses illicit substances and does not accept some kind of treatment.

I wish there were, for your sake. Your job now is to protect yourself without becoming angry and bitter. Keep your beautiful, caring spirit and when you are free of this environment, you will be able to live a good life.

You can always love people, but you can never fix them. It sounds like you have tried every single thing you possibly could. Take the best care of yourself possible and, when you have the time, perhaps learn tools to cope with the anxiety.

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Stop trying to save your parents. Make every attempt to find a place for you and your sister and move out. Consider moving to another town and not telling your parents your address. You don’t appear to have a support system where you are anyway. Have you tried contacting NAMI or finding a charity that might help you?