Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

My schizophrenic brother killed my father

My 49-year-old son now living in a mental health group home, has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia ,
SFI including homicidal ideation.

I have been a victim of his sudden rages, his big, strong hands on my throat.

In an out of court; jail, hospital, rehab he now is placated by meds.

He believes the meds are poison. Over the years he continues to have psychotic episodes.
He has recently had one.

If nothing else, we can pray and cry together.
And be grateful we are alive.

from Vermont USA​:snowflake::snowflake::snowflake:

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I am so sorry for what you are going through. My son was never violent towards me……until he was. I ended up in the hospital with an MRI of my head to be sure nothing was broken. If he hasn’t stopped punching me on his own, he would have killed me. I’m 59, and there was no way I could defend myself. I never thought he would ever hurt me. He doesn’t remember the attack, and to this day, will deny anything happened. Again, I am so sorry this happened, it is not your fault. it is NOT your fault

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Hope, This is very true.
my Son is very non-compliant on meds. I can only force him to take meds through Court order or calling 911 when he decomposes. I wish the system can help more and recognize that someone with severe mental illness needs to be in long treatment center/Facility for a while instead of being discharged from hospital after 2 weeks or after on month. it does take time for find the right antipsychotic combination of meds to make a mentally ill person more functional.

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junegirl2409,
I am really sorry about that happened to your dad. My son did really hit me on my hand recently because I was always reminding him to take his medicine. I get him admitting for a month to a local hospital he is now on Clozapine but he started cutting his medicine and taking 1/2 of the does as soon as he was discharged from Hospital. I am planning to do a court order soon by afraid of the consequences… God help all of us.
Praying for you and your family. Be safe.

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I agree with you JARCA2016. Getting on to meds and adjusting their lives is something that would take much longer - I really think more like 6 months or longer. Its a process that will continue for the rest of their lives. 2 weeks or a month is unrealistic.

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There’s a memoir here written by the sibling of a man who killed their mother: Everything Is Fine: A Memoir: Granata, Vince: 9781982133443: Amazon.com: Books . I found it to be a moving read.

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I’m so sorry that happened to you! I’m so glad you are ok. Is your son living with you currently? Thank you so much for saying it’s not my fault. I think it’s human nature to question if could have done more but hearing that makes me feel better.

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Thank you for the recommendation. I’ll certainly check it out!

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Our paranoid SZ family member has never, to my knowledge, at least, shown any inclination toward violence, so it sounds as if we are very lucky. What is difficult to understand is how people with very serious mental illnesses such as SZ can simply refuse medication, thereby increasing the level of danger to themselves and others. SZ has definitely played a part in some high-profile criminal cases of late, in which those with effectively untreated mental illness were both perpetrators and victims. (In some of those cases, judges would not allow disclosure of the mental illness to the jury. Not sure what the answer is, because we can’t have a system in which the mentally ill are treated as second-class. On the other hand, severe mental illness can impair judgement, making sufferers behave irrationally.) Many commenting here have indicated that medication refusal can make caring for sufferers extremely challenging, as well.

You are fortunate, but it is more the norm than the exception. Unfortunately where the exceptions occur it can be horrific and we family members, according to Dr E Fuller Torrey, are the most at risk.

An opinion from another parent…

Herschel has a child with schizophrenia, more of his thoughts can be found at mentalillnesspolicy.org particularly his article - “Uncivil Liberties”.

We are told that our family members ON medication are NOT more likely than the general population to commit violence. My F to F teacher asks that I stress the “ON medication” part.

When events of violence occur, they do get a lot of attention. To me, it seems as though the court system in some states according to their laws, will, -at that point- finally force medicate them in order to be able to put them on trial for an event that occurred during psychosis. To me, these high profile cases are similar to witch trials. Our family members are often portrayed as “evil”, the comment sections are merciless. A society that won’t force meds and won’t listen to our calls for forced meds when we express our concern, will suddenly line up to throw comment section tomatoes at our family members.

Of course “where meds are necessary” is the tricky bit. Who can make that decision in a country that has firmly established the rights of our family members to not be medicated? Some of the states, individual counties and cities are working to make it easier based, often its based on arrests and incarcerations. Yes, that is at least something. Many have new laws on the books that aren’t used -yet. Generally the current US plan for our family members, who we are concerned may commit violence, is to wait until they do have an incident and throw them into prison.

NAMI in Family to Family also teaches that the best indicator for violence is if the person had violent tendencies before they were mentally ill. My son did not have violent tendencies before he was ill. He still does not have violent tendencies. What he did do before he became neurodiverse/scz was defend himself. He would stand up to bullying and if challenged he would present ready to physically defend himself.

Add paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations and we have a person who, at times, firmly believes people are trying to kill him. He would buy guns and arm himself for the attack on his person. That is a dangerous situation and not a single law had been broken. As time passed, his delusions began to focus on his father.

We couldn’t get him to take meds, we tried all the recommended ways. We knew we would lose in a court battle to force meds where we live, because he had never done anything illegal or violent. We heard twice from the local mental health officer “its not illegal to have a mental illness”. Our son could have easily shown in court that he was making capable decisions in other areas. We had cameras outside with voice recording capability, we never heard or recorded a threat. He raged around the outside of our home demanding we stop harassing HIM. We were able to Amador’s methods to obtain other goals. We lessened his stress wherever we could - reducing his stress was probably the biggest impact item. Living in a space by himself reduced his stress. When we moved him away from his dad, that was another huge relief of stress for him.

Family to Family made the point over and over again - reduce their stress! For my son Amador’s LEAP method made that possible - one couple from our class has made absolutely no progress with their son. They attended the class, they read the books and didn’t follow any of the advice. The mom still pleads with the son to see a doctor for meds because he is SICK. The dad comes home and argues with the son about getting a job. Yeah, not much stress reduction or any sort of progress for them and its been 9 years since the class.

When a young Houston area man killed his parents (one parent attended my Family to Family class) the police found him just standing there covered in blood. At first the police thought the people on the ground with the sledgehammer next to them were some sort of Halloween decorations. They loaded the silent, compliant, blood covered young man into an ambulance and sent him to the hospital for treatment. At the hospital they discovered he was uninjured. Our Family to Family class met to process and grieve, not everyone attended and not everyone attended the funeral either.

He had been an only child. We learned at the reception that his parents had told friends and family members he was a drug addict.There was only one picture of him in the video of photos. He was a young boy and all three of the looked very happy together. I used to keep track of him on the court pubic records. Every now and then they bring him to court to simply remand him back into our state’s forensic prison. Last I knew, they have not been able to medicate him enough for him to stand trial for the deaths of his gentle parents. An only child, his mom told us in class that he was the pride of their life, her eyes glowed with love when she spoke of him. In other classes she told us he was threatening to kill them, she would imitate the voice he used. She said she often stopped her car at the entrance of her subdivision after work, she was afraid to go home. When they are violent, we family members are the most likely victims.

To say the least, it was a pretty startling introduction to the world of mental illness. Our teacher never taught again. While some classes keep in contact and do reunions, our class scrambled to exit.

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Wow what a powerful story.

I want to touch on the violence part too. In my experience with my brother he had never been violent up until that day. Even growing up he was the quiet, polite kid who never brought about confrontation. He was never in any fights either. In the time he lived alone with my dad, it was never mentioned that he was violent in any way. My dad had said if he felt threatened he’d change the locks and kick him out. Now I don’t know of any confrontations at that time or if my dad just didn’t tell us if he felt scared. It’s hard to speculate because I wasn’t there. This one event could have been the first and only time a confrontation arose and it ended up in violence.

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Fear of the experience that your dad had is part of the reason that I told my spouse that his brother could never live with us. I’m not sure that he would hurt one of his siblings, but I’m just an in-law, and the last time I spoke with his doctor’s nurse, she told me that I needed to be careful not to be seen as the main person pushing his disability application. That makes me wonder what he said to them about me. It’s true that I have urged him to take disability, but there are very good reasons for that, chiefly that he is unemployable (has been fired several times, as he simply cannot get along with others), but also because we cannot continue to pay all of his bills forever. We have been very patient with him, but naturally the siblings who haven’t been paying his considerable costs are less anxious for him to receive benefits.

Hence the qualifier “to my knowledge”. He may have had episodes of anger, and has definitely lost his temper with me a couple of times over the phone.

Its okay to be concerned about your safety. I promised my husband that if my son ever voiced a threat we would move him off our property. We were quite dedicated to getting a threat recorded to force meds. One night when my son was having the worst episode we ever saw, we were trapped in our house while he raged around the outside. The evening is detailed on a thread here somewhere. It was frightening, you could see by his actions that he was seeing and hearing things and was being tormented by them.

We thought it might be enough that evening when our son threw a rock towards me. We called for help, it was the weekend, we didn’t get the mental health officer, the officer we got was not impressed. I guess the rock needed to actually hit me. Luckily (unluckily?) my son wasn’t able to throw it very far, it was one of my solid granite large landscaping rocks.

Shortly afterwards, we were told by my son’s second psychiatrist that she was concerned about my husband’s safety. We helped our son move away as quickly as we could.

@junegirl2409 as you say, it is impossible to speculate because you weren’t there. Your brother may have no memory or inconsistent memories. My son has described events in the past to me in conflicting ways. He seems quite convinced when telling all versions. Such a tragedy for you and your family. Heartwrenching.

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