Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Partner tried to kill me. New to this & need help please


#1

My partner of 4 years had a psychotic episode the other day and tried to kill me. Over the years he has been hospitalized and in residential facilities a number of times. I’ve tried to talk with him and his family about getting him properly treated, but they didn’t seem able to accept the diagnosis and instead were treating him solely for depression & anxiety. With the severity of what happened this time, it seems they’re starting to take it seriously and I’m hoping he’ll now be treated with an antipsychotic, and will finally be on the path to recovery. He’s currently in a psych facility and they’re attempting to stabilize him. What we both experienced was quite traumatic and I have no idea what the recovery process and timeframe might look like from here. I love him dearly. He’s the kindest, gentlest man you could ever meet. But this last incident has me worried. He seemed to see me as some sort of horrific evil threat. He reacted to me with absolute terror and rage. It seemed the voices were telling him that he needed to kill me. He fought for hours against them, but ultimately concluded that he had to follow their orders. The police barely made it to our house in time. I was fighting for my life. It was terrifying all around. This was the most out of touch I’ve ever seen him. In the past, most of his paranoia and delusions were related to his own body. This is the first time I’ve been the target. I don’t know if it’s possible to tell, but I’m wondering - moving forward does this mean he’ll be more prone to seeing me as a “threat/target” during future psychotic episodes? Do the delusions typically remain consistent in nature, or do they often change? I have a 16 year old son from a previous marriage and while I want to be there for my partner, my top priority is the safety of my son and of myself. As my partner’s family and I are discussing a long-term plan for him after he leaves the facility, is it reasonable for me to allow my partner to come home and have me as his primary support person? Or is there a high likelihood that during future episodes the voices will tell him to come after me again? I’m not looking for a guarantee, as I understand that’s not possible, but as someone entirely new to the world of supporting a schizophrenic, hearing other’s personal experiences and knowledge would be really helpful right now. I’m very much wanting to step up and continue to be there for him, but I’m wondering if that’s realistic or if I’m being naive.
Thank you so much for reading.


#2

If you aren’t safe, make yourself safe.
If you are concerned that you will become unsafe, make yourself safe.


#3

Your partner needs to heal. Delusions are the last part of psychosis to fall away with medical treatment and sometimes they don’t.

For his sake and yours, if I were in your position, I would get a one year protective order and then talk to him/ visit with him after one year of effective treatment.

Please do not take responsibility for him or live with him after this traumatic and terrifying event. He needs a huge amount of medical treatment, psychosocial supports, and family supports. Let his family know that you cannot be there for him until he has been truly stable for one year.

They will understand. Once he is stable, he will understand. If he doesn’t, that means he is still too ill to be around you and your son.


#4

I am so sorry this is happening to your partner, you and your son. I feel for you, especially as your partner was normally a kind sweet man, it must be tormenting you to have to make this kind of a decision.

I have been caregiver to my now 34 year old daughter for 2.5 years. She will not stay on medicine despite 4 forced hospitalizations. She has gotten mildly violent (grabbing, pushing) on 3 occasions but nothing serious. She hears voices constantly, is paranoid delusional about my husband, and isolated in her room 90% of her awake time. I don’t feel threatened by her, but she makes my husband very uncomfortable always, and they avoid each other. Her delusions have not changed in 2 years. They shifted from delusions about me to delusions about him after her first hospitalization 2 years ago which is why she sees me, talks to me, takes food from me now (where before only my husband was talked to by her, etc.) She doesn’t have much of a life, and is a drain on me emotionally and financially.

To answer your questions:1) If he recently started acting as if you are a threat, he will probably continue to see you as a threat, 2) The delusions an ill person has are very, very strong and remain fairly consistent, it seems almost impossible to break a delusion 3) No, I don’t think you can reasonably allow your partner to come home and expect to be his caregiver/primary support. I am pretty sure that you cannot reasonably expect that at all! 4) I believe his voices will remain consistent in what they are telling him, only to worsen in antagonism over time. Unless, and until medication has proven effective long term, and his behavior proves it, I believe you should NOT live together when he comes out of the hospital. In fact, I am surprised there aren’t criminal charges pending if he attempted to murder you.

Of course you would like to be there for him, and the person he was. He may never be the person he was ever gain. It is a heartbreaking situation. You must think of your son first, over your partner. Legally, you are responsible for your son’s welfare and you must protect both of you for your son’s sake. In the end, that will also protect your partner, as if you are truly a trigger, you may set him off again.


#5

floweroflife,
I’m so sorry you are having to face this terrible situation, but very glad you survived your partner’s attempt on your life. You are very brave to even consider letting him live with you again.

I’m no expert, but one of the things I remember learning in NAMI’s Family to Family course was this: the voices may give various reasons why the target must be eliminated. According to the voice, the target (a) may be planning to harm the ill person, so the ill person must strike first; (b) the target is evil and must be destroyed in order to save others; © God demands this human sacrifice, etc. The ill person experiences the perceived threats as absolutely real and true. Effective antipsychotic medication may make the voices/commands end. At that point, the ill person is likely to believe that you have abandoned your plan to harm him. Don’t assume he will ever truly believe that you were never a threat to him. If he stops taking the medication, the same delusion or a similar one is likely to return.

In my own experience, it’s my son who is ill. He was on the “autism spectrum” in early childhood before developing full-blown schizoaffective disorder in his mid-teens. As a result, he has never lived on his own or away from his parents. He’s in his early 20s now, but still living with parents.

At one point my son believed that I was a danger to him and that he should protect himself by attacking me first. But his doctor discovered his line of thinking and alerted me. He also escalated my son’s treatment and medication dosage. That marked the beginning of my son’s improvement and he never actually attacked me. But it still took a couple of years and switching to another doctor before we got a medication mix that really controlled his symptoms well enough to make him trustworthy and companionable.

Even with strong medication, his symptoms have never completely ended. He still experiences intrusive thoughts and still believes they are real psychic transmissions from spirits or aliens who have superior knowledge. But they are no longer telling him that he’s in danger. Medication compliance is critical for him. My son has been compliant with taking his meds and has remained a safe family member for about 6 years so far. He also safely works at a part-time job outside the home.

Like I said, I’m no expert. My advice is to consult a real expert, a psychiatrist with years of experience treating patients similar to your partner. You’ll probably have to pay straight out of pocket for those consultations. Your insurance is unlikely to pay a single penny because you are not a symptomatic patient seeking treatment for yourself.

I wish you, your son, and your beloved partner all the best.


#6

I think your primary job is to focus on your son and I would not like it if my mom was living with a psychotic person.

Your son will soon enough be gone and you will have wasted your time , money and energy on the wrong person if you stay with the schizophrenic.

It’s not fair to your son st all and placed him at risk.

It’s pretty easy to see the right path here and you need to do the same, safe thing.