Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

My father is paranoid schizophrenic; any feedback is greatly appreciated 💜

Theres a lot to tell with my story about my father. Hes been in and out of my life and was around until I was about 6 or 7 before this had taken full effect of him as anyone could tell. My grandparents got custody of myself and my siblings when I was 4. They gave us the best life they could offer. I’m a 26 year old woman now and the youngest of 3.
Out of the blue back in November, my grandma got a call from a hospital about my father. Hes in good health physically and found his way into the hospital to seek shelter and food as hes been living on the streets since his wife left him. His wife left him after she found out that he is schizophrenic, they met in a homeless shelter and she was a volunteer. Granted I don’t or cant get the full story and it doesnt make sense to me. LiTerally at all but we lived in different states and I didnt even know he got married or was still alive.
My point is, my sister took him in and I feel the need to build some sort of relationship with him as this could be the last real chance since he just turned 60 and theres no telling how long he will be around. So my questions are; how do you build a relationship with someone who’s not in full reality without triggering them? I’ve done some research and know that I should politely disagree but not make make them feel like I’m against them in any way.
To be clear, my father has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Pretty sure my sister got him in meds and hes not violent unless extremely threatened. He believes that hes a vet that served in the military and has had direct contact with George W Bush and could easily be recruited by any current president.
So how do I build a relationship with my father whom I dont actually know and is not in the real reality? What are some ways I can connect with him without feeling disconnected myself?
Anything is helpful :purple_heart:

If you have Nami near you then my advise is to take their family to family course , you will learn so much . Also look on their website , there is a number to call too and you can ask lots of questions that concern you . You need to educate yourself as much as you can .

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The book “I’m not Sick, I don’t Need Help” has a method for talking to someone who is mentally ill and psychotic. The first step is “listen”. The second step is “empathize”, the third is “agree” and the 4th is “partner”. I personally use those steps with people mentally ill or not in order to gain agreement with something I want or need.

It’s a trick to listen to people when they are talking nonsense, but honestly, almost everyone just wants someone to listen to them. It won’t hurt anything if your dad talks nonsense to you. Probably just knowing that you WANT to be next to him, ask questions and be interested in his answers will help a lot. You can listen to him, empathize with whatever he says, agree with something (anything) even if you don’t agree with most, and then partner with him to stay in touch somehow. Even a “how do you feel about cell phones?”, is there a way to use them that won’t bother you?, agree to talk once a week or once a month or something, and “so glad we are getting to know each other”, is a way to apply LEAP. You can learn about LEAP in Dr. Amador’s book, but adjust and bend the method to suit how you feel comfortable using it, and the specific situation you find yourself in with your dad when you meet. Good luck, and yes, I agree it is best to try and forge some type of a relationship as at 60 you just never know if you will meet again.

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LEAP (Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner) communication strategy.

With my mother, I exercise love and patience.
When she is saying something delusional, I will just answer “okay” and nod.
I don’t actively support her delusional statements, but neither do I contradict them.
There’s no point in confronting her about it, as to her it is very real.
Let your father say what he wants and be agreeable, but try and steer the conversation back to reality and focus on what is actually around you. It’s good for him to socialize and feel that you support him. Kindness and compassion are always felt, no matter what your situation is.

You may also seek some support for yourself, in terms of counseling therapy. If your biological father has a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, it’s important to note that there is a genetic component. In other words, it may run in the family. My elderly mother has paranoid schizophrenia, and I just learned from my younger cousin in Europe that has two sons, that one of her sons has also has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Just because you don’t have it, does not mean you won’t pass it on to your children. Raising a child with the condition is heartbreaking, as you can read here in the forum. You could benefit from genetic counseling before considering having children of your own. I don’t want to be a downer, but I think that it’s important to know this.

You and your sister are obviously kind and compassionate, and I wish your family all the best.

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