Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Possible undiagnosed mother



So I have for a long time suspected my mother of having schizophrenia for some time but I am in no way licensed to diagnose her in any way. I am no longer in contact with my mother so the only thing I can go off of are memories and personal accounts.

My mother has always been delusional and paranoid, always talking about how everyone at work was out to get her, how doctors would purposefully do malpractice on her. When she would have episodes of violence or anger, explosive yelling and aggression. Afterwards, she would refuse to acknowledge that she even had the episodes to begin with. She was a verbally abusive person and was very cruel. She had absolutely no trust in anyone or anything and the only few people she enjoyed she idealized them (her mother being the only one I can think of at the moment).

She had an intense victim complex and would often ask why she was being punished or why people wanted to hurt her or betray her. Every job she’s ever had she’s accused co workers of driving her away or somehow getting involved in her life to uproot it.

She was a frequent wine drinker and I am pretty sure she was addicted to narcotics, because of a few instances where she would pass out or go loopy from them. However, this was not the most concerning time. When I was around 16 years old she was convinced that there were worms (or one worm) living in her face under her skin. She would pick, nonstop at her face and make it bleed claiming that she almost caught it. Her face was constantly torn up, bleeding, or scabbing because she would rub and pick at it. We found a box of scalpels and metal instruments which she would use to dig at her skin, we found a stool sample she was ‘saving’ to examine, and that she had also taken medicine for animals to kill the alleged worms.

My mom never had healthy relationships with her ‘friends’ and often made fun of her supposed best friend’s suicide soon after her death. She openly mocked people who she claimed were her friends, or would claim that they had secret motives against her. She would pretend to sympathize with me and offer a safe person to talk to to get information out of me (I am gay and she had suspicions) but when she found out for sure she was very cruel about it. She and I were very distant and she knew it, because trusting her wasn’t an option for me. Our relationship went strongly downhill.

She had a mental fit that was the turning point, when I realized that I could no longer live with her anymore. I filed an order of protection against her when she lost it soon after my 18th birthday. She found out that I had seen my dad (somewhat estranged) on my birthday and became so aggressive and delusional that I could no longer live with her without fearing for my safety. She physically attacked my grandfather (dad’s dad), threatened to hurt or kill anyone who had a part in the situation, threw away his belongings, and would claim that she never did any of those things to eye witnesses (so it wasn’t just to cover up a lie, seeing as it wouldn’t make any sense to lie to someone she knew heard/saw). We shared a room in rotation (I would sleep in there during week days while she would take them for weekends since she lived in another city for work) and at the peak time of her episodes and delusions I found a knife underneath the pillow, unsure of why it was there. We (my grandfather and I) were very scared that she would harm one of us or do something even more destructive so we would choose very carefully when we would go to the house when we suspected she wasn’t there. Finally, the two of us filed an order of protection and moved to a separate part of town.

I am asking on this forum to reach out and get an informed answer about my questions.
I have heard from many people that she’s displayed symptoms of schizophrenia but was unsure of what to think.

Could it be that she has untreated paranoid schizophrenia? I want to know because I’ve been looking into my family’s physical and mental health.


I’m not a doctor and don’t diagnose, but she does sound quite mentally ill from what you’ve described.

I don’t know how things work in the US as I’m from Europe, but when you filed the protective order did any doctors get involved?

Is there any way to get them involved at this stage?


Not now because we aren’t in contact and have not been for the past three years. I am 21 now and it’s been some time since we’ve had anything to do with one another. Even if we were in contact she would most likely refuse or deny a diagnosis.


Sorry to hear that. I was involuntarily (forced) hospitalised and it saved me. It’s possible that they could do that for your mother. Get your dad on board. Or other family members.

@notmoses is good at this type of advice, maybe he can help when he comes online.


My only reservation is that I’ve started a life that has been very peaceful with her absence. I would worry because she is very good at fooling those who don’t know her unless she’s provoked. It could go one of two ways - she would go absolutely in aggression mode and swear and scream or she would be able to play off her abuse and act like a fully functioning adult (which she IS, it’s not like she can’t live on her own because she’s been fooling many people about her abusive side. Even my best friend of 7 years had never seen her lose herself. It is always behind closed doors which made it difficult to get the restraining order. If we hadn’t saved her voicemails and text messages about her threats then it likely never would have happened.


Maybe knowing or at least somewhat understanding that she has this disorder will bring peace and forgiveness, because my own mom also has schizophrenia. That is how I know it is genetic in my case, and that it might relate to nerve conditions. My mom behaves similarly. She does well though, in spite of it. My paranoia sometimes comes back but I have my medication situation resolved now. Hope and healing sent your way!


It sounds like your mother might have a mental illness.

A way to receive accurate diagnosis is if she is evaluated by a professional and enters treatment so a doctor can try to pinpoint a diagnosis over time. But it doesn’t sound like that is going to happen… So you might not find out what her diagnosis is.

Do you think you might seek counseling and other support and education for your own benefit? NAMI family support group and education programs have been helpful for me.


Piles of research show that sz pts, family members and caregivers tend to get “better” when they…

  1. Get a copy of this book and read it and have their families read it, as well.

  2. Get properly diagnosed by a board-certified psychopharmacologist who specializes in the psychotic disorders. One can find them at…

  3. Work with that “psychiatrist” (or “p-doc”) to develop a medication formula that stabilizes their symptoms sufficiently so that they can tackle the psychotherapy that will disentangle their thinking.

  4. The best of the therapies for that currently include…
    DBT –
    MBSR –
    MBCT -
    ACT –
    10 StEP –

  5. the even newer somatic psychotherapies like…
    MBBT –
    SEPT –
    SMPT –

  6. or standard CBTs, like…
    REBT –
    Schematherapy –
    Learned Optimism –
    Standard CBT –

  7. If you/she/he needs a professional intervention, tell me where you live, and I will get back to you with leads to those services.