Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Lost childhood how to cope


I am a 45 year old women struggling with what has happened all these years during my childhood and how it was when I grew up. My father is a schizophrenic and would not take his medication. Also they did not tell us (me and my siblings) untill we were students so it was very confusing. The times that I wanted to bring it up to talk about it to them they say that I overreact and that I had a very good childhood and was able to go to college etc…
If I tell my mother that it was very confusing and scary that dad would tell that we were Jews (not true) and that I had to be careful because we were at risk, that he would lock the doors and curtains all day during a sunny day (my mother was at work), that he would pace around for hours without talking, etc etc;…
I recently wanted to talk about that to my mother and she basically told me to stop my nonsense…which made me extremely angry because it was his nonsene…
I cannot act normal around them anymore, they never talk about it and act like victims…like I am coldhearted and revengeful…which makes me feel very bad…
Also I have 2 sons, the oldest is 18 and is angry that we do not spend time there and also starts telling that I am exagerating…my father , although still psychotic, can mask very well around visitors…which makes it sometimes even harder because it is like people will think…oh he is so charming…you maybe are exagerating…
My brother died in an accident…my sister is also diagnosed with schizophrenia …I have no contact with her anymore…she nevers contacts me and apparently during the last time she was admitted to the hospital she says she had no family…
I am sorry for my rambling…I dont know how to deal with all this…
Thanks for listening and apologies for any language mistakes (not English speaking)


My opinion is rather than look to your family for healing, consider finding an individual therapist or some sort of survivor or support group. As much as you’d like for your mother or siblings to acknowledge your pain, they are products of the environment and have dealt with it in their own ways.

While I’m not certain, my father likely had some sort of SMI (serious mental illness) that was undiagnosed, and as a family we all adapted to growing up in the environment in different ways. I developed SZA, my brother developed Bipolar disorder and other siblings were okay. It’s not always necessary to bring up the past to the rest of the family to heal unless you are all living under the same roof. You have to accept that you can’t force others to change or change how they treat you, only how you react to it.

I’m in a different dillema as I’m not sure exactly what to say to my nieces and nephews about my illness. A sister told me that she’d never discussed it with her kids, as they otherwise might not know. My brother has more obvious issues, so I’m sure have they have some background on him. But it seems shame that as they age and may have mental health issues of their own that they are missing out on a positive role model who recovered and has had a relatively good life.

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How old are your nieces and nephews? I have a physical disability and am very open w my young nieces/nephews about my illness .if they ask. I know it’s different because of the stigma of serious m.i., and because your symptoms may not be obvious, but children are very accepting.

Two nearly out or out of college, one halfway through and another is a senior in high school. I’d left this to their parents, as telling anyone how to raise their kids is something I consider the third rail of family life. Nowadays patental involvement in kids lives seems to extend into the mid twenties for many, so I’m not sure when or if it would be appropriate.

Personally - given the improved awareness and acceptance of mental illness, I would share with them, and provide them the positive role model that you can!

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I agree with Vallpen.
You could let them see you take your meds or casually bring up a therapy appt to get conversation started.

You are wise to realize the reality and source of your struggle. You have and have had many burdens to bear. Therapy would likely be a good option for you. Employers often have Employee Assistance Plans for their employees and their families that provide a small number of free sessions, and that could get you started if you have access to an EAP if other options are not readily available. Contact the employer’s Human Resources dept. You could also find a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family Support Group.…look for a link to your state’s info on that site.

I agree that they should know at some point, and ideally before they start families of their own. If you feel they can handle the information and you trust them to keep it as private as you need for your sake (because your privacy is at stake here, too) then I’d say is is something between you and your nieces/nephews, as they are all (or almost all) adults.