My son is stopping us from moving

Hi, my 26 year old schizophrenic son will not survive if we move. We want to move to one state, where our daughter is living, but he says that one state is full of witches and bad ghosts and he has trauma from a prior hospitalization in that state. We found our dream home and now we don’t know what to do. Do we move and leave him behind, or just stay where we are and be forever stuck? Just fyi, our 24 year old son has schizoaffective disorder and is convinced the 26 year old will commit suicide at some point. And our daughter has bp2. My husband and I are really struggling with our situation, I don’t know what to do. 26 year old will not take enough antipsychotic, and is basically on lithium only at this point. He has been delusional and low level psychotic since his last hospitalization four years ago. I just feel something terrible will happen to him.

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What a tough decision ! as are most of the decisions we need to make involving our loved ones .
My person is my brother and I have witnessed this similar scenario with my parents moving away from my brother different times .
the last time he did fairly well for almost 2yrs I was in the same state and saw him a few times a month though.
He was fine until he wasn’t he ended up back with my parents and has been there for the last 11yrs.
I felt so happy for my parents for those few yrs. they got to have a space of thier own .
My brother has had long stretches of being ok but pretty much always lived with them besides a short period with myself and short time with roommate’s . He is not very well now and hasn’t been for the last 5yrs
Is your 26yr living with you now ? what support network would he have if you were not in the same state ? could one be put in place before you leave ? Is there any chance he may go even with the past trauma of the state?
I would consider if you move you could still visit him.
Zoom or face Time frequently if he allows
If there was a care team you could coordinate with that may help put you at ease a bit.
If there was an emergency could you still get there if needed .
I guess having things in place to feel more comfortable if you do decide to move.


The situations we families find ourselves in are just beyond comprehension.

The only known is that the brain disorders will continue to wreak havoc. You could move and there could be a tragedy, you could not move and there could be a tragedy.

You should prioritize your lives. Usually life requires children to be resilient, our journey requires parents to be resilient.


Thank you, I don’t think he would survive on his own, and I would rather he live with us. We do not have much support where we are now.
He refuses to use a smart phone and will not text or use Zoom/Facetime. He has a flip phone only. He will answer the phone when it is convenient to him. It is exasperating! I don’t want to be tethered to one spot because of his illness :frowning:

Thank you for your wise words! I shall take that into consideration!

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Probably not move right now. The worry would be too much.

I don’t think you have to think of it as a forever situation. Your son might recover in the next few years. My son is very much better at 36 than he was at 26.

Use the opportunity to both work on yourselves – as in making your lives better (e.g. more friends, more activities) – and to be more effective caregivers – meaning enabling your son to be more independent. If you haven’t read it already, take a look at I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! How to Help Someone Accept Treatment. If you have read the book, maybe reviewing it will help.


Thank you! I did read the book but probably need a re read as it has been a little while! I am glad you son is doing better now, what happened for him to improve?

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I think it was a combination of staying on his meds and maybe just getting older. This article says:

Schizophrenia Recovery

Some people do recover “fully” from schizophrenia. Ten years after diagnosis:

  • 50% of people with schizophrenia recover or improve to the point they can work and live on their own.
  • 25% are better but need help from a strong support network to get by.
  • 15% are not better. Most of these are in the hospital.

How you decide to live your life is a matter of prioritizing the important things. Each family has to decide how much care they WANT to give, how much care they CAN give and how much care they CAN’T give. There is no guarantee that even on the prescribed meds, if he would take them, that your son would become more independent.

I know one family that provided strong care for their son for 4 years, and as he grew no better, sent him to another state to a live in facility, that released him to the community services in the area after 6 months. It was private pay and the parents stopped paying after 6 months. Then they basically stopped all communication with him. They moved, changed their phone numbers, and never looked back. Last I heard from one of my sons who stayed in touch with their son, he was working at Dunkin Donuts and was on a med that worked partway.

Personally, I chose the opposite route: moved my daughter into my home and helped her to get on meds. She will live with me until I die, then inherit my home to live in until she dies, at which point my sons will sell the house.

Another family I know bought a house for their ill family member to live in far away from them. Their family member left the paid-for house one day and they never heard from him again. No one knows where he is.

You have to decide whether you can “disconnect” your lives from your son’s life or not and still live with your own selves knowing you made the best decision possible. Then go on with life and don’t second guess your decision.


Thanks, I am more in line with your way of thinking, he would do better living with us and it is his choice if we move and he decides to stay, but we really would like him to be with us. He is a sweet person and not difficult to live with, what is difficult is seeing his pain and struggles.

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That is encouraging, thank you. He was first diagnosed seven years ago but there has been little improvement, although he isn’t in full blown psychosis, he is definitely more isolated and pushes his friends away, either with his bizarre thinking, or but rejecting invitations.

I totally understand, it IS difficult. I wish you the best with helping him to accept your move. I think that using Dr. Amador’s LEAP method of communicating that you can find a way to get him to accept moving with you.

Thank you, I shall revisit the book, it has really been a few years since I read it!

I think you should go ahead with your move knowing that if he folllows you, you have a place for him in your new lication. I think he will come to his "senses’ in away and will follow you as your move becomes a real thing for him. If he stays behind, he could join you later or try to do his life by himself. But i think he will follow you. You have to be well.

You can’t let his delusions run your life. Move to your dream house.

It’s hard, I know. Keep pointing out the positives of your new home/ state.

Ideally, he should see a psych before you go and get on some medications. It will make the transition smoother for everyone.

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I am in the same boat! My husband and I want to move but my 28 year old can’t take care of himself. I keep saying this over and over, we need a safe controlled living environment for our loved ones suffering from this. I don’t know how to take a vacation and I need one so badly. I just want to get away from all the drama that goes with this disease. I pray that you will find a way to work things out. Please know you are not alone. Many of us feel as though our lives can never be what we want but always about what they need.


Patience is important. As I posted earlier, 50% of people with SZ improve to the point of being independent. It might take 20+ years.

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So true, my 29 year old currently unmedicated son puts a big damper on most things that my husband and I would like to do. It is difficult to take a vacation and we would like to be snowbirds for the winter. He cannot take care of himself. However since he stopped taking his meds this last April , I have totally taken a step back and do very little with him. He lives in a condo we own a few blocks from us and has totally destroyed the inside, littered with garbage. I hope he can get back on meds soon and be somewhat independent, but who knows . I am always on guard for the other show to drop….

Just wondering how he is able to live in a condo? I have been worried about my son living right next door to someone, fearing they will call the police every time he has a psychotic episode. I REALLY need him to be living somewhere else. Not with me. Not only for me, but have to get him ready for when I am dead. Does your son have problems with the neighbors?