Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Marriages that fall apart because of co caregiving?

My stepson has paranoid SZ he is 31. He lives with my wife and me. He was diagnosed at 27 when we got married. I have done everything that I know to make his life comfortable. I treat him with respect. I try to encourage him when he is willing to listen. I don’t dote on him like his mother does. I built him a large separate room so he could feel like he had somewhat of his own space to “live” in. I take him for drives to get him out of the house. I ask him to go to movies with me he declines. Every once in a while he will let me take him out to eat. I try to be good to him.

My concern is that as a married couple my wife stays so depressed over her son’s condition that she has totally ruined herself over the past 4 years, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Our relationship just exists. I have heard her say that if her son cannot have a life then she is not going to. Our relationship is 95% centered around her son. I don’t hold that against her if that is what she needs to do but it is not good for our marriage at all. She WILL NOT seek help, she will not take care of herself AT ALL. I am at the end of my rope.

I have four grown kids. One had to come back to live at the house for a while while they get back on their feet during a divorce. My kid sees what is going on but does not say anything. She has worked with people with SZ she has a more practical approach to dealing with issues rather than all the emotional.

The wish that my wife has is that her son will get a productive life. He refuses ALL help. That is my hope also. It just seems like an abyss that my wife is falling in. She try to force people to do things with her son and I don’t think she realizes it drives people further away and they become resentful of it. Aside from the SZ my stepson isn’t the easiest person to warm up to. I have tried to get him to go to places where he could meet some people. The people that have tried to be part of his life, I don’t know if they don’t care or they don’t understand. I have to be honest when he is being a jerk ( not having an episode) I ignore him for a while.
He was supposed to go get blood work done yesterday and his mom (my wife) tried to make sure he kept the appointment so what does he do, he did it on purpose, he goes and drinks 2 pepsi’s right in front of her. He has some bad liver problems and they needed to check his liver enzymes. So she has to cancel the appointment. Its a never ending exhausting cycle. So she sleeps the rest of the day off in depression.
She is in the process of getting legal guardianship which she has struggled with. I could go on but…

Has anyone experienced the decay of a marriage because of these dynamics? The worst thing about it is my wife will tell me I don’t do anything to make his life better, It makes me want to walk out the door and not look back. My stepson also has the delusion that I called him a child molestor. When this begins ramping up I say nothing unless he asks me why I called him that and just kindly say that I have never said that or thought that. I truly feel so bad for him but I can’t cure him

I understand your problem with the situation. It has taken me a couple of years to get used to the ‘new normal’ with my son, but he doesn’t live with us. He is relatively independent. Until very recently, though, it did have a great impact on my mood and ability to function and work normally. However, my son is in treatment, and is compliant. he is the same age as your son and has been diagnosed and treated for almost three years.
The dynamics in your house are very different from mine. But I wonder if the absolutely best person to ask about it might be your daughter. Yes, she’s young, but she’s clearly smart and capable of governing her own feelings. Some young adults in a situation like that would have kicked off at your stepson. She knows you and she has seen your situation. Why not ask her?
The other thing is to get some support for yourself. What about NAMI meetings for you? You may eventually decide to leave, not so much because of your stepson, but because of your wife’s behaviour. But before that, set an example for your wife. Go to NAMI meetings. Give her this website address. Go out and see your own friends and family. Be yourself.
My husband has been a great help to us, but i do show my appreciation. Without his help and support, both financial and emotional, I would not be here and doing quite well now, as is my son. In the beginning he was dismayed by how much wailing and crying I did, how much gulit-ridden angst he saw. That is not my usual style at all! But I got online and investigated how I could help my son. I found this site. I found out about treatment, about how people with sz react to and sometimes refuse treatment, etc. My son was detained recently under the Mental Health Act (in the UK). I went and stayed at his place and visited him every day. But this time I didn’t get distraught, and I lowered my expectations. I understand that he may do this several times before he finally gets it that he has to have treatment in order to get the best quality of life. I seek information, and I accept it. Your wife seems to be sinking into despair and passivity. Of course, maybe she should seek some mental health care for depression or counselling. But I think NAMI could help you with that.

i’m sorry you are going through this. When I first got sick, it was hard on my partner. I didn’t go to do anything on my own. I didn’t make any of my own phone calls. I refused to leave our bedroom. I was put on meds that finally helped after about 4 years. Then my partner felt it necessary for me to join some mental health classes. I learned a lot from them and I think it helped me.

My ex-wife ended up getting verbally and physically abusive when I lived with her and she found out what it’s really like living with someone who has schizophrenia, but that might just be because she’s a clinical sociopath and found out I’m not as useful to her as she thought I’d be.

i’m sorry @schizofriendia, that’s terrible. I get emotionally abused where I am now by my in laws. They can’t use me like they expect to cause I don’t understand sometimes or worse I forget.

Marriage counseling?

Thanks for the advice…just got bad news. Stepsons liver enzymes are 3 times higher than what they should be. P docs are cutting all of his meds in half. Not good at all for his mental state. Things could get bad here in the next few days. I just pray that his mental state does not take a horrible turn for the worse.

I hope your step son does alright with the med change.

All best to you and your family.

I will pray for your son and for you and your wife.

Good evening,

I am new at this as welland I have the same question. I really think is challenging specially when the relationship turns into caregiver and not partners. I am afraid my marriage will become that. I love my husband so much. I am just really nervous when he comes back.