Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Protecting yourself

How do you protect yourself from insanity in your family ? I know this covers a large area; what I want to learn is, when you get insane answers to your questions, insane solutions to problems, when you get so frustrated that you feel as if you are totally losing it, what do you do ? Leaving the conversation, leaving the room or even going out don’t help at times. In short, what measures do you take to protect yourself emotionally ? I am in such a situation that I want to run away. I am so tired of cleaning up the mess the mentally ill person in my life creates all the time. I am really so tired of being the person who tries to do the right thing all the time.


Hi geena, wecome to the forum. You will find a lot of answers here from people who understand what you are going through. What you do will have to be decided by you, everyone’s situation is so different. Yet it helps a lot to hear how other people have handled their situations.

I suggest you contact NAMI, and if you can, go to their support groups or classes. You must take care of yourself: eat well, exercise, take vitamins for mental and physical strength, see a therapist for yourself, get some alone time doing a hobby, etc. Recognize that the insanity from the mentally ill person(s) in your life is out of their control and out of your control: it isn’t a discipline problem if it is a mental illness.

I built a hallway door and a back door into my home to let my daughter have her own studio apt and to keep out the noise of her episodes from my part of the house (talking/yelling to her voices). I used the police to get her hospitalized and the court to get her medicated with 30 day shots. My life is calm right now (for 3 months) after 2.75 years of active pretty much daily psychosis. It has been a constant and emotionally charged time, especially because she has always been certain that she is not ill. Many folks with schizophrenia cannot see their own illness. They only see problems with the world at large that affect them, and blame others, especially the caregiver.

Good luck and I hope you find some peace one step at a time.


Thank you very much for your reply. It helped. Knowing you are not the only person dealing with insanity, helps.

You sound so calm. Well, I can’t be calm and mature sometimes. I am an average human being. A few days ago, I yelled at him. " You are a pest ! You caused losses to eveybody you have had a relationship with. You are a parasite ! " Then I felt guilty…it is a vicious cycle that always happens. You need to be a super human to deal with insane people, but unfortunately I am not. I don’t know what to do…praying to God. "Please show me a way. I don’t want to hurt him but I don’t want to get hurt also. " That all I can do right now.

There has been times when my daughter and I have ended up yelling at each other… it is hard to stay patient at times and soon both of us have lost control and end up saying things we regret later. I am learning to pick my battles and decide if something’s worth making a fuss about… sometimes easier said then done… there has been times more recently when I start to say something and caught myself and stopped mid sentence and say “Never mind”


Meditation is powerful tool you can pick up
Also unconditional love and understanding…
Emptiness meditation
Always remember to take time for yourself…
I feel like space is a big one us care providers forget about …
Make sure you are happy and living your life
Every person must be responsible for there own happiness
If you wish to be the best help ,then you would make sure you do things for yourself and take time of the day to go on hikes by yourself or friends to forget about him for a day.
Also try and get family involved if possible or friends to kind of help you take care of him a bit or “hang out”
It’s the best when you can still do things for yourself and in result be a better you,a better healer.


Forgot to mention that you should find out what he likes to do that you find productive…
I honestly feel like if he can start doing things he likes
Then he’d begin to feel better as well…


Also I would recommend a video called non violent communication.


When my son was quite sick, I would sometimes lose it and just start yelling. Listening to the crazy can really try your patience - you are already so worried about your loved one, and stressed at trying to get things done for them, at times you just will lose it. It happens. I understand the guilty feelings that come afterward. I went through all of it. We all know it tends to escalate things, but it is just REALLY hard sometimes.

I made sure to talk with my son afterward, when we had both destressed and calmed down. And I would apologize. But I know I just CAN’T beat myself up about it - there is just so much someone can bear.

At this point, with my son fairly stable, it happens pretty rarely. If I notice myself starting to respond to the crazy talk, I now set a timer, maybe for 10 minutes, and don’t respond to any of the delusional talk. When the time is up, I evaluate - is he still agitated? If so, I might set the timer again.


The idea of setting the timer is a good idea…
I will keep that in mind…

There were times when I had to remember the rule: “don’t talk to my daughter in the morning before school” because that has been normally a stressful time for her.

1 Like

“Taking the higher road” is my mantra for 2019 in dealing with my unmedicated husband. I do my best to try to remember to take deep breaths when he is raging at me and to keep the conversation as positive as possible. Meditation is a great idea.

Being positive was not so easy in the past, when I was working six days a week and would come home every day to him not having left the apartment all day. He was in pain, physically, as well, and starved for attention. I was tired and just wanted to relax and have dinner and some light conversation. Most nights he would start yelling and I had nowhere to go to escape. Some times I would not be feeling very strong and I would yell back at him. We broke the cycle by moving to another state, but he chose to move back and we are separated at the moment.

Being the caregiver, you know your loved one the best. If you feel you are in physical danger, please take steps to remove yourself from a potentially dangerous situation. If it is frustration from being worn out and emotionally tired, give yourself a break if you are able. I find walking or hiking useful as well. There are good suggestions in this thread.


Thank you all ! Really ,I appreciate it so much !


It’s interesting you’re all talking about this because I’ve been having a really REALLY hard time dealing with my son’s crazy talk. I find myself locking myself on the other side of doors. I dont have the outlets that my husband and daughter have. They both work full time and go to the gym. I work part time but need to go to the gym. I need to work on this, to keep myself from being part of the crazy talk.



We are attending NAMI family to family meetings & the information is phenomenal. Our son is sz
I am sure you don’t “feel” like reading but there is a great book “I am NOT sick and I don’t need help” & “Surviving Schizophrenia”. I am learning daily, but I do feel that these two things have begun to provide support and knowledge and actually help me be a little more peaceful. It, sz, is a brain illness and dealing with it is a long term challenge. Often we get blamed and yelled at - it is not your fault and your loved one can get better, but it’s a long process.
NAMI has trained nurses and professionals who are available to talk and offer solutions reach out to them they have SO MUCH knowledge.

You have to take care of yourself- easier said than done. It is ok to tell your loved one that you care about them but this isn’t a good time to talk.
We know first thing in the morning is NEVER a good time to talk and we check to see how agitated he is before we begin conversations.

I have also learned the hard way to stay out of his space and not touch his things. This sets a lot of mentally ill people off. One little thing - laying clean towels on the bed will cause suspicion and paranoia.

Remember You are NOT ALONE there is support for how you are feeling!! please reach out to NAMI you won’t regret it


Definitely my daughter!


Hi Ann,

You said “We know first thing in the morning is NEVER a good time to talk and we check to see how agitated he is before we begin conversations.” This happened to me yesterday. I called my husband (who is homeless, living thousands of miles from me) at what I thought was a decent time (10AM). He was awake but had been rained on and had been cold all night, so he was NOT in a mood to talk. Rather than tell me this, however, he started arguing. I sensed it was not a good time and said we should talk later in the day. He then yelled “Well then why the f*@! did you call me!!!???” and hung up. Then he proceeded to call my phone over and over, leaving increasingly angry messages. Later that night, he called and apologized. I have become used to this pattern, but it disturbs my friends and especially the family member I live with.

These kinds of rages used to ruin my whole day, but now I let the feelings pass and get on with my life (for the most part; it still bothers me because I’m a very sensitive person). Once we learn the patterns of our loved ones, it is easier to create solutions that help us as caregivers.


Hi Geena,

I understand how you feel. Its challenging and draining. AND many times you will question if there is something wrong with you. I agree with everyone that responded the importance of taking care of yourself. If your not ok then your family won’t be ok. I can’t tell you the many tears I have cried. The tears then turn into anger and resentment. I had to change my perspective otherwise my son’s mental illness will consume me. Here are some of the things I do everyday to give me a mental break: I pray, I meditate, I listen to music, watch motivational lectures on youtube, I go to the gym, I go for a 10 minute walk in my neighborhood or I go window shopping and I started a gratitude journey this year. ( I do want to look into supports groups.) So by the time my son wakes up in the afternoon I’m available for him feeling refreshed. It’s taken me a couple of years but his illness has made me more compassionate towards him. He didn’t ask for this. It’s a long term illness. He tells me all the time he just wants to be normal.
It’s not easy and many days it’s REALLY hard but I believe if you start making time for you, slowly it will give you the strength to endure what you are going through.
Geena you are not alone. One day at a time.
God bless.


Thank you. God bless you and all the people who try to help in some way,too.

1 Like

A good book for talking to mentally ill people is: I’m Right, You’re Wrong, Now What?: Break the Impasse and Get What You Need by Xavier Amador.