New to support groups and don't know where to start


#1

I am new to support groups in general, and don’t talk much about my schizophrenic father, but recently thing have gotten crazy again. I guess I’ll share some of my story and my feelings bc I’m a little confused about how I feel.

My dad was always a little weird, he could tell these stories that were so incredible and fantastical with such conviction that you just fell into them. We called them, his big fish stories, things like being sucked into a tornado and surviving, or having the fbi looking for him for some reason. We knew they weren’t true but I was so young I wanted them to be true. He came home from work when I was about 14 or 15 with a black eye, and told my mom he was hit non the face with a 2x4 that had fallen from a shelf. A few weeks later he told her he was actually jumped by ‘a bunch of Mexicans’ (he can be a little racially insensitive so I’m sorry if anyone is offended I’m not sure how that works in a group like this). Fast forward a few years, I’m about 16, I can’t remember but I don’t think he was at my 16th birthday, life is pretty hazy from 15 years old-19 years old. Things started to deteriorate, he become increasingly easy to anger, physically and mentally abusive and paranoid. Don’t get me wrong, he never hospitalized anyone or really hurt 7th too much, but I remember him kicking me in the shin with a steel toed boot and leaving a large bruise and palm thrusting me in the back of the head, the chair took the brunt of that so in wasn’t hurt too badly. I wasn’t really scared until it became apparent there was something mentally wrong with him. He left us for a while, moved to another state to start a business. I believe the intent was for him to get a job and find us a home and we would move later. I’m not sure what happened I don’t remember but somehow we ended up not moving with him, and he came home. He did not get a job l, so my mother was trying to support a family of 4 on her income, he stayed at home and ate all the food, which left nothing for us. At some point my mom told him to get a job or get out and he chose to leave. He was found later that night walking down a busy highway, trying to get hit by a car. He was taking into custody and evaluated. He was not given a diagnosis at the time but was prescribed medicine and came home again. He stopped taking the medicine and had a really bad night where he thought someone was trying to break into our home, specifically through my window. By this point in was terrified of him and not really understand in what was happening so I took to lacking my door when my mom wasn’t home. He broke down my door and started screaming at me asking who was there, who I had let into my room and what they wanted. I gather my things, went to school and called my mom. After that things got really crazy and I don’t remember a whole lot until we got kicked out of our home. My dad was coking back and forth from his family in TX to us in PA, I think we saw him a few times I remember going to the mall with him and coming home telling my mom we couldn’t be alone with him anymore bc he was crazy. He was telling us people had microphones in the air vents of his car and other things and I didn’t feel safe at all. After Web lost the house, the three of us and our dog moved into a hastily built bedroom in my aunts house. We had no food, no home, and my mom was having her own problems coping so essentially no parents either. I spent my junior and senior year of high school raising my sister and working to make sure we had food to eat and clothes to wear. Eventually we got back on our feet, my dad stayed in tx and we moved on with our lives. His family blamed us, and said things to me to make me feel guilty for not wanting to talk to him or caring about his well being, I was 18 and just trying to survive, I blamed him for everything and then felt guilty bc I knew he was sick and couldn’t help it. I was mad at myself for how I felt and mad at my aunts for not understanding I was just a kid and was struggling to cope. I started working alot, and relied heavily on my boyfriend

Sorry hit the wrong button.

Anyways, I moved on with my life, got engaged to my amazing boyfriend who stuck around through all of this craziness and had a son.

I am now 28, and have not spoken to my dad in 10 years l. I recently re connected with his family in tx only to have them bring all of this back into my life.

apparently he’s been living with my grandmother, untreated for 1st years and had an episode last week. He was talking about serial killers and dead kids and other scary things that made them go to the state to have them take custody of him. He is now in a facility, and signed for the extended treatment. 90 days I believe, my aunts are acting as if he’s all better saying things like he’s finally waking up and it’s so good to have him back. I don’t understand them, they act as if they didn’t do this 10 years ago. He doesn’t like the medicine and won’t stay on it and will just start the cycle all over. Apparently he has all kinds of health issues that went untreated all this time and I can’t figure out why they haven’t done something sooner. Then I found out that at some point he was well enough to hold a job and save $10,000 to buy himself a car and I am so angry at him and my family. While his kids were starving and struggling, while I at 18 was raising my 13 year old sister, he was eating every day and working and living comfortably in his mother’s home and buying himself a reliable car. Our lives were ripped apart, we lost everything, even our dog because of him and here he is with all of the basics he needed and nobody thought twice about us.

I feel guilty for feeling angry and I thought I had moved on and didn’t care but I do. All of this makes me feel like the helpless 18 year old trying my damndist to keep my family from falling aoart, trying to shield my sister from the horrible things in our life, and making sure that she doesn’t lose anymore than she already had. Now those feelings are transferred to my 3 year old who has no idea what’s happening and I have to protect him and give him everything I lost when I was 16. And I feel like I’m all alone. My sisters experience was different than mine, she sees only that has sick not that he ruined our lives, and my mother is angry at him for running our lives and making us go through all that. She’s angry at him because I have a streak of Grey hair from the stress I had for so many years. And I feel both and have a huge amount of guilt for not caring what happens to him. I’m having a hard time dealing with this all a second time and regret bringing it all into my life and I’m angry that none of his family asked us what our life has been like. I feel like they think that bc we turned out good it didn’t affect us too deeply.

Gah! OK I’m done ranting, I needed to share my story I think . I duno. Color me confused.


#2

That was a very moving and heartfelt story. I felt your sadness and pain.

Partially because I went through the same thing with my mom, who was an unmedicated schizophrenic. My childhood resembled yours a lot. Abuse, neglect, lots of fear. That is until my mom left us when I was 13. Then things started to get better.

After almost 16 years with no contact with her, she contacted me on my birthday last year. And since then, I’ve been trying to rebuild our relationship.

But it hasn’t been easy. The memories of childhood are scarring, and I don’t think I could ever forget that. So I too am dealing with a lot of frustration and sadness.

My best advice: get yourself into therapy. You have to learn how to cope with the past and present. I know it’s worked wonders for me.

I’ll be sending you some prayers and positive energy. And remember, you’re not alone.

Blessings,

Anthony


#3

Dear @wibblywobbly

My experience is nothing like yours. My oldest brother is the one living with this illness in my family, not a parent.

I completely understand your frustration, fear, regret, guilt, anger and on and on. You’re situation is NOT easy by any means.

What struck me was when you said your Aunts are acting like your dad will be all healed now that he’s in a facility. That just sort of made me think of how previous generations didn’t talk of such stuff openly. People didn’t seek outside help ever with stuff. I could see them acting like all was hunky dory just because of the generation they are from.

When you say you thought you moved on and didn’t care, well, this is your parent your talking about. I have a feeling no matter how old you get, it’s hard to dismiss a parent. I’m sorry you feeling guilty for having no contact. But you have a child now, you had to survive as well. I hope your Dad will start getting the help he needs and will stabilize. But if it doesn’t happen, that is not YOUR fault.

I think you turned out well because you were deeply affected and you didn’t want to fall victim to this illness also.

The only thing I could suggest is to find a support group or a good therapist so you can get over the guilt. I’ve seen others who are not over their guilt and they get manipulated by it. So if you find someone to talk to, some one to help you process through all this past pain, you will have a better shot at setting boundaries, getting to know your father on your terms and not other family members, and you will also be able to see a situation more clearly with out the guilt.

(If you know me from my posting, you would know how ironic it is that I’m talking about boundaries. I love my big brother with all my heart, but boundaries are something he and I are just now learning.)

There is so much past for you to process through, and there is so much pain to let go of. I hope you find some way to let some help in. It’s not weakness to ask for help with something as big and confusing as this illness.

www.nami.org
they can help find support groups in you area

I know it’s hard, but I am wishing the best for you.


#4

Hi Wibbly~
Welcome to this forum.
Your story is like so many others here. It is very hard to shake the past----without help. All of your feelings are valid. Now, you just have to work through them-for yourself, and your children. This illness is very hard to work through. My son was diagnosed 20 years ago, and I am finally starting to understand. Trust? We are still working on that.
I hope you can find some answers for yourself on this site. It has helped me many times when I could not tolerate a regular group, or could not afford one. I have been in therapy on and off several times. It has helped tremendousley ( spelling! ) Good luck and visit often…


#5

oh god,how awful what you have endured…i hope you find some comfort on this website…welcome and sending you blessings…


#6

I am so sorry! I can’t imagine what that is like. Both my parents are well and the only thing separating us is my mind. It’s hard for them, but what you have gone through is way worse. You needed him and he wasn’t there. Everything inside of me is urging me to shoo you towards reconciliation, but someone (it might have been @SzAdmin) said something to the effect of:

“Your schizophrenic partner might not be able to be an equal financial partner, but that doesn’t release them from their responsibilities.”

That was about marriage. I think it is probably the same for parenting. You can’t expect an ill parent to be “with it” all the time, but that doesn’t mean they don’t owe you their time and love. I agree with @radmedtech. Therapy is a very good thing and will help you put this to rest. It will also help you decide if you want to contact your father again.

Heal it or bury it, it is all up to you. But don’t choose based on what others think. Choose what will bring you peace that you can, in turn, give to your child. All I urge is that you think about it deeply and make a confident decision. If you call, you can ask him not to contact you later. If you don’t call… you have until the end of his life to do so.

One day your child will want to know where Grandpa is. If you manage to heal (which is anything but certain if you call him. Some people don’t like to take their medicine) you can hand the child the phone. But if you choose a different route of peace there is always the fact that he chose his illness over you. Don’t guilt yourself into healing just because it sounds better. If he can’t keep himself “with it” you don’t want your child to see that.

Jelly bean hug
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