Need advice for tricky situation with brother

Hello, this is a complex situation, but I’ll try to make it as concise as possible.

My brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 19 during an episode which had gone on for probably over a year. I distinctly remember him being delusional, claiming he could talk to god, being very paranoid, and totally isolating himself socially. One of his main delusions was that his penis was deformed due to being sexually abused by my mother. Because of this he started to hate our parents. He visited doctors who examined him and found nothing wrong with his private area. Eventually family members were able to get him to sign himself into a hospital and receive treatment. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia, given haldol and even seroquel. It took some time, but he made a very good recovery, dropped his delusions, was on decent terms with our parents, and went on to work and graduate college.

Over the past 6 or so years, he has not relapsed and has even steadily decreased the dosage of his medication, hoping to eventually get off it alltogether. A few years ago, he began seeing a therapist for psychotherapy because his mood began to decline and he was feeling depressed. He started talking about how our childhood wasn’t good and how I wronged him in the past. (I disagreed with him as I thought things weren’t too bad) Sometime after this, he eventually told me that he discovered in therapy that our mother had abused him. I asked him about it and he assured me that it happened and that he was not having delusions. I wasn’t sure what to make of it since he was holding down a job, interacting well enough socially, and living on his own without issue. Eventually I did question him more about it, but he would become angry and threaten to cut contact with me. Looking back, I feel I should have done more, but was afraid…

Fast forward to the past months… He tells me more specifically that he was sexually abused by our mother (that she kissed him and touched him) and that he also hated our father because he “knew and didn’t stop it”. He is also upset that nobody believed him about the abuse when he had his original episode. He seems to think that even though he was very delusional that people should have believed him. He also claims my parents got a lawyer during this time to defend themselves (this definitely did not happen). I tried to question him about this and he exploded with anger on me, called me a piece of shit, and hung up the phone. He told me he has now been diagnosed with PTSD due to this abuse and this is what caused all his issues.

I am worried that he is either having symptoms again or has developed false memories when he saw his therapist. This therapist was very big on past trauma/abuse and almost asked you to try to find instances of trauma (I know because I saw him). I can never be 100% certain that nothing occurred, but both my parents say that nothing happened. I am older than him and I also have zero memory of any such abuse occurring. However, he seems normal when I talk to him on the phone and is doing well with work and living on his own… so he appears to be functioning well.

I’m at a loss. I honestly don’t believe him and I think he is either starting to develop delusions or has fallen victim to false memory. This is tearing my family apart, because he won’t talk to my mother and father and said he’d even get a restraining order against them. I’m caught in the middle of course and I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want to lose him, but I feel like I cannot go along with this anymore.

Please help me.

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It’s true that they develop false memories sometimes. I’m not sure what to believe either. Is he on any medications?

I believe he was originally on 300mg Serqouel following the hospitalization. Over the course of the last few years he has decreased it to 150mg and then 100mg for at least the past year.

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I would try hard to stick in there or you know you’ll loose your relationship. If it were my brother, I would at all cost maintain relationship. One day you will only have each other and you can agree to disagree. I do that with my son now on certain things and he accepts this.

My son has a trauma memory and when he is off meds swears he was raped in the ambulance. I listened and sympathized but was not confident to go further with it. It is sad because when he is off meds his delusions are so scary and they involve someone cutting his penis off or hurting him.

I can’t see how these are going to get better without therapy but then again could it make it worse?

If you spoke with the therapist, you might want to suggest for them to suggest to him to get back on a higher dose again.

Yes he is on zyprexa 20 mg now was 15
He hates all AP s but will take Doxepen

Are you talking about the person’s brother or your son? :confused:

When my son is not well, he has lots of sexual delusions - it’s fairly common.
Thankfully, they’re not directed at me or his father, but I’ve talked to parents on other forums where the very thing you’re describing has been a delusion.

If someone is not otherwise psychotic, but has a persistent delusion like that, they sometimes say it’s delusional disorder, and there are a few different types.

I actually think my husband suffered from that for a number of years. He went a long time being positive I cheated on him no matter what I said or did - and nothing would convince him otherwise. Suddenly, in his early 40’s, it was no longer an issue. Not only does he no longer think I am cheating, he doesn’t seem to think I ever cheated.

Other than that, he was pretty much normal.

I think any therapist who actively looks for lost memories of any kind is probably a bad therapist, especially for anyone who’s ever been psychotic.

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Unfortunately false memories do happen. My daughter’s first break was when she was 15 years old (she was diagnosed with sz at 19 yrs old) and came out of her bedroom looking wild, scared and angry and jumped on my husband and told him that I had molested her and she was afraid of me. It’s not true and we took her to the emergency room right away. While there I was questioned for about an hour by what I think was an investigator on the abuse. I was not worried about myself but very worried about my daughter.

Later while in college she told us she was raped and then just about 2 months ago she told me that she was raped in the middle of the night by a man. When I asked about the last rape accusation I asked her what did he look like and did she remember anything about him. She became extremely angry and belligerent and stormed off. It’s hard for me to imagine anyone breaking into my home because of the security measurements I’ve taken to protect my home and family.

I don’t have an answer as to what to do but I know these type of accusations do happen.

Thanks for the replies everyone. I have tried to be sympathetic to him and let this go in order to maintain a relationship with him, but I cannot do it anymore. I feel like I am living a lie and it’s eating me up inside. I also feel like I am betraying my parents. I have talked to them many times about this and I’ve never heard or seen anything to suspect them of abusing him. In my heart, I just don’t believe him and I can’t go along with it anymore.

I have to tell him how I really feel and accept whatever the consequences may be. If he chooses to cut contact with me, I will miss him greatly. He cut all contact with me for over a year when he had his episode and I learned to live with it. I’d hate to go through that again, but I feel like I have no other choice.

Before you do that, take a minute to think about it.

You probably know that you can’t reason with someone who’s delusional and that he absolutely believes what he says and it is very real for him.

What do you hope to accomplish? Will this change his mind or help your parents? or simply make you feel better. I get that you want to help, but tackling things head on is seldom the right strategy in this case.

Unfortunately, the right medication is probably the only thing that will change his mind.


I agree with you, it won’t make things better or help him get the help that he needs in order to get him back on track. Just out of pure curiosity, why don’t you take him to a hypnotherapist? @FlareStar

I agree with you as well, I don’t expect to change his mind or anything of the sort. I can’t force him to do anything, he is a few hundred miles away and a grown man.

I am pretty much doing this for myself at this point. I can’t take the emotional stress anymore. I’m extremely anxious, on edge, and I dread talking to him now. I have trouble sleeping and this is on my mind constantly. I’m at my breaking point with this and I can’t continue to go along with what he is saying.

I fully expect that he will become extremely angry and stop talking to me. To me, I prefer that over the current situation of being in constant distress.

I should note that I am diagnosed with MDD and Anxiety myself. So I have to take my own feelings and well-being into account in this decision.

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I understand you, I hope that everything goes well for the both of you and that your relationship maintains intact.


It is possible that what your brother is saying is true and that the unprocessed memories have contributed or even been responsible for his condition.

I would suggest agreeing-to-disagree and not getting plugged in emotionally, even though that is difficult. As he is working with a therapist all of this may well end up working for good…