Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Not sure how to communicate with my husband. Help?


#1

My husband and I have been married four years. I came into the relationship with my daughter who is now seven. We also have twin 3 year old boys and and 1 1/2 year old boy who we adore but was a surprise! I go to school full time online and he gets disability, money is very tight but we make due. My husband works very hard taking care of our kids, and changes a lot of diapers. I tend to get a bit crazed at him though when he spends all his free time researching things on the internet rather than doing chores or hanging out together. When we are together sometimes it seems he listens to my tone or watches my facial expressions rather than hear what I am saying. This is especially if I am stressed out and with four little kids that is a lot. When we go out in public my husband tends to pay attention to everything and everyone and zones out on what our family is doing. Compared to many I guess he is functioning quite well. He does get paranoid and thinks I am lying to him, etc. How do you not take this personally? How do you feel connected to someone who often seems in a different world? What are the coping skills I need to communicate to him and have him remember? Are my expectations too high? His meds are working well but he gets an attitude sometimes and can say very harsh things that he forgets later when he feels better. How do you keep from feeling alone? I really do get very impatient with him and I know this doesn’t help. Reading over these blogs I am thinking I am being too hard on him? Do any of you feel very connected to your love one with schizophrenia? Sometimes when I am happy it scares him. This makes me very sad and feel alone. Instead of enjoying our relationship he is analyzing me out of fear. What should I do to get closer to him?


#2

I don’t know if it’s a matter of having higher or lower expectations but different expectations. My son remembers certain situations differently then I do. I don’t know if there is anything that can be done about that. My son has a lot of times misread my facial expressions and tone. I found that I usually had to talk in a very monotone voice with little to no emotion.

Even if it doesn’t feel like it, it sounds like you are coping very well. Don’t be too hard on yourself for getting frustrated sometimes. It is a frustrating disease and you deserve the same compassion and understanding for yourself that you have for your husband.


#3

Yes, I agree with Barb, the best thing first of all is to dial down expressions of emotion. A lot of people with sz are what you might call “hypervigilant” so strong emotion makes them uncomfortable or fearful. You can say, “I feel/angry/sad/very happy, etc” but with less volume, less grimacing/frowning, exclaiming, etc. I was surprised how quickly I got used to it and how helpful it was to our relationship (me and my son, not husband). Now he is much more communicative and open with me, so it was worth learning. I think its better for me too! I’m not actually very Zen yet, but I’m a lot less “amateur dramatics”. Quite restful, really! Seriously, it helps.


#4

Try to get a feel for his emotions. The better you understand him the more you’ll feel connected to him. As far as the chores go, you could do worse. Try to prompt him out of himself. Try to establish a dialogue with him. It will take some work to get to understand him, but if you want to stay with him you need to do that. There are worse husbands.


#5

I know it`s hard, but do not take what he says or does personally! He has probably got a lot going on inside his head, may not be able to decipher what you say as quickly. My son sometimes gets lost in his head when he is symptomatic, and can get quite nasty and irritated trying to sort everything out in his head, and then trying to listen to me at the same time.
Do you go to a local support group?


#6

All of your feelings are understandable. I can identify with a lot of it. It’s very hard.

How do you not take this personally?

I think about what it must feel like for my daughter to believe such things, because to her they are real. That makes me feel compassion instead of being hurt by things. I think you also need to give yourself permission to feel what you feel, and not feel guilty about it either. It’s normal for feelings to be hurt when someone we love thinks badly of us when we would never do those things.

How do you feel connected to someone who often seems in a different world?

I think about what I’m grateful for about my daughter and our relationship. I remind myself of those things.

What are the coping skills I need to communicate to him and have him remember?

Ask him what helps him to cope, and remind him to do those things when he’s having trouble.

For yourself, take care of yourself, your needs. Do the things you need to do to feel good and recharge. This is vitally important.

Are my expectations too high?

I think it’s okay to have high expectations, but to be realistic about the recovery process. Healing takes time, it’s a roller coaster, not a straight line. There will be zigs and zags along the way.

His meds are working well but he gets an attitude sometimes and can say very harsh things that he forgets later when he feels better. How do you keep from feeling alone?

I reach out for support, like you’ve done here. Have a support system in place. Call NAMI for support groups, reach out to those who care about you. Talk about it.