Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Physical abuse at home

Does anyone else experience physical abuse by family member with schizophrenia? Is this okay? What should I do? My sister has always been a calm girl but ever since she has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia she is verbally aggressive and is also violent with my parents and myself physically. She is nice to anyone else and has no issue with anyone. She thinks we’re her enemies trying to pose as her family to take away what is rightfully hers such as my fathers money. she honestly has never been a very motivated person nor has she worked a lot, she always quits her jobs and has some sort of issue with the boss. Ever since she quit her last job, she was fine for a while but she had some sort of anger or resentment toward her boss and the owner which was the boss’s husband which she now thinks my mom and dad are. she still depends on them to do her favors and my parents are extremely nice to her but once my parents try to talk to her about money which she spends a lot without having a job, she flips out and starts fighting (throwing punches, throwing objects etc…) she has also hit me before and threatens me sometimes which I don’t think is okay. I just ignore her and hope for the best. Everyone is scared at home and it sucks she says this is her home and everyone should leave. we do not have scissors or knives at home because we’re scared she might use them to harm us. What is going on? She is on medication and she acts normal with everyone but us this is a nightmare that never ends. I just want my sister back :frowning:

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I am sorry your sister is being aggressive and violent. Unfortunately, this illness seems to make the ill person most angry at the ones who are helping them (like family members). If she is on meds and still having violent behavior, that is especially troubling to me, and I feel your family needs to come up with a plan.

In our family, my daughter, now 36, was spiteful and aggressive with me quite often while in psychosis, and I had to adjust my daily behavior and speech to not inflame her. She absolutely hated her step father and called the police on him (911) over 30 times in a year or so. She also caused a sexual abuse investigation to be done on him (it was dropped as eventually the detective realized my daughter was talking nonsense in a believable way). It was all delusion and hallucination caused aggression and violence.

I called the police on her several times to try to get her hospitalized, and once pressed charges on her after she chased me around the house. It felt awful to do that, really awful, and when she was released from jail, (I testified that she needed a mental examination) the judge released her straight to a psychiatric ward. She was later arrested out in public and again I testified she was in need of forced medication and released to a psychiatric ward. BUT the ONLY reason she is now medicated (2 years almost) started with those police involvements and 5 total hospital stays.

Assault and battery are crimes. Verbal threats and physical advances toward another are assault. Battery involves touching, hitting, etc. Both assault and battery are causes for arrest if reported. (It can’t be a mutual fight, we are talking about aggression from one person to another.)

Also, violence toward self or other is a reason for a forced psychiatric hold. In Florida, that can be for 3 days, or can even be extended for longer if a doctor and judge agree it is warranted in the case of a mentally ill person.

It may be that your family MUST involve the police.

Do you have a NAMI near you? You can call them for some advice. I wish you the best in solving the unsafeness in your own home. It does need to be solved. Don’t be afraid to take action. The sister you love is still there under the hallucinations and delusions. You may or may not ever get her back. I am very, very lucky that my daughter is 95% back to my dear loving daughter, but it was a horrible journey from early 2016.

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Thank you for your response, I live in Florida as well. I have been trying to find a NAMI nearby but I’m not sure if we have one close. it is terrible to be uncomfortable in your home and not being sure what is going to happen next. How long did it take your daughter to improve? I’m glad she is better btw

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There are Nami classes online . in fact there is one right now on zoom meeting ID817863772

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My daughter got ill in March of 2016. She was pretty much psychotic almost 24/7 until Dec 2018. Since then she has been on a monthly injection that broke the psychosis and has helped her improve slowly into a person able to hold a steady job and be quite nice to be around. The most dramatic change was the month after the first shot. I was afraid she wouldn’t take the 2nd shot, and she probably wouldn’t have, except that the court order was still in effect. By the time the 3rd shot was due, she was not under court order anymore, but did go willingly to get it. By March 2019 she was able to hold a part time job, and now is working over 30 hours a week and doing well. She may evolve into being capable of living on her own, but she still lives with me. I took her in when the illness started, and managing it almost broke me, but didn’t. The support from the wonderful people on this site, the police, the court system, the hospitals and NAMI helped me tremendously to make the right calls through these years.

If you can’t go to a local NAMI, you can call. Pinellas county has some especially wonderful members and executives. I wish you the best. You must learn as much as you can about this illness and take action when it is needed to keep yourself safe. Abusive behavior is scary but very very real.

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@oldladyblue Your story gives me hope. Thank you for sharing your story.

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Thank you. Hope is important @Feelingalone . During the long time of her psychosis, I almost lost hope and faith totally. It is very important to keep hoping. I couldn’t have predicted how it would turn out for us, it went sort of like a domino effect: little steps led to other little steps, and more improvement. I hope everyone on this site can find improvement in their situations. That is why I share my story.

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OLB said it all pretty much. Physical harm to others is in fact criminal assault. The kinds of verbal, emotional and physical abuse sounds very familiar to what I experience with my MI partner and is in every way very real abuse. Abuse is never ok, but sadly it is a very real part of a lot of our lives when we live with someone who is mentally ill. My sz partner of ten + years has always tented to be violent during episodes, most often towards me, at home, but somehow manages to be mostly extremely passive with others. He has beat me up, later claiming he thought I was an imposter in my own body in our own home.
I’m sorry you have to experience this. It’s frustrating and it’s hurtful. I know it well…
Personally, I don’t in most cases advocate involving the police, as in my area nothing good has ever come from it. For anybody. But other places seem to be more prepared to deal with the MI.
Personally, I try to talk in as calm a voice as I can and keep reassuring him that I am not here to hurt him and there’s nobody else here to hurt him. I tell him that he is loved. I do tell him he’s having an episode, sometimes explain to him that he’s confused and point out something like the clock which verifies maybe what he’s experiencing is inaccurate as he often will think I have been boing things to him when there’s been nobody else in the room with him for a few hours. But according to a popular method of dealing with somebody experiencing irrational thinking or beliefs or full delusions called the LEAP method, I’m not actually supposed to do this. I understand why. Contesting somebody’s reality that they are experiencing will often confuse and agitate them further. A good you tube video to watch is by Dr. Xavier Amador called “I’m not sick I don’t need help” and does a really good job of demonstrating this, what a delusion is like for a person. Google him and LEAP and you should easily find a description of the steps of the method. Sometimes I’ll just leave the room for ten minutes and come back and he’ll act like everything is fine and nothing happened. It’s odd, yes. But it works often.
It sounds too like your family might want to get your sisters meds adjusted. Is she taking them do you know? They’ll have to call the psychiatrist to make an appointment and then it will be up to your sister wether she decides to actually go. I’m so sorry for your situation. I wish you the best and please stay safe.

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I am very very lucky that in my city (I live in a very urban area) NAMI is regularly working with the police and ambulance drivers to give them classes in handling the MI. There are three NAMI meeting places in my county also for support groups and classes. The court system is also used to people with MI, as unfortunately a psychotic episode can lead to breaking of the law caused by following delusions or hallucinations. There is a good hospital as part of our local county jail, and there are three receiving hospitals in our county for involuntary holds. Based on statistics alone, I very much trust the police to do the best they can in these potentially explosive situations. We also have county medicaid and clinics that accept indigent people no questions asked to help them get their meds. There are several homeless shelters, numerous food pantries, and many churches that provide services. All of these people had a hand in a small or large way with helping me to help my daughter, I was blessed with an abundance of help once I started looking around. I know that our outcome would have been much different in a less populated and less MI friendly location.

The LEAP method was and still is a big reason why my daughter started talking to me during her more lucid moments, and even when wildly hallucinating, during the long period she was unmedicated, and has helped me to come up with reasons why she should continue with her monthly injections. @Wisdom is right to recommend the book and videos. Many here on the site have found small or large success with using that method.

Thinking of you, and hoping all is as calm as can be. Come here when you can to vent, ask questions, and know you aren’t alone @Val_le and @Feelingalone .

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