Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Sister In Law is now in my house... and our care...what to do!

I found this website just last week as I have begun to do my extensive research into Schizophrenia and related disorders. I am hoping you all can help as of right now I’m so incredibly stressed out.

After a big mess of issues that we found out as of last week after we had her forcefully admitted to a psych ward through the Crisis intervention place in town, she has been released. So much we have found out about her delusions and the extent to which she was involved in them as well as other around her, its amazingly scary.

She has multiple disorders diagnosed, borderline Schizophrenia. Now she has been evicted from her house, no job (and has not had any in quite some time), and is staying at our house.

What am i to do? I feel like i have taken on a 35 year old child in my home. She is very distant. Paranoid of everyone and everything. And thankfully the meds they prescribed her are making the delusions not present, that i know of.

How do i get her help if the state feels she is an adult and will not even release vital info about her? All i know now is that she is suppose to have a dr or therapist that she goes to treatment with… but if she is unwilling to divulge that info how do i cope? We cannot afford to support her and ourselves. We have already used so much of our own money to clean up her mess of a house, found the cat she abandoned, and the hunt alone for her when she had her episode to cause all this.

  • How do i find support?
  • How do i find answers?
  • How do i get her to talk to us honestly when she is living under our roof and we are having to take care of everything?

She is functioning… and she is currently suppose to be out looking for a job because she knows living with us is temporary. I’m glad she has come to that realization. She has little money in her account and I am afraid she will continue her bad spending habits.

She has a “friend” ( i say it this way because he was not in my opinion that good of friend) who knew about all her delusions and choose to not help her by contacting her family. He also has been secretly funding her for 8 years now so she can jump ship at a job and not worry. I’m not sure what is wrong with this man but we have explained that there no longer can be any more support as she must learn how to live on her own. But her spending habits are high. I don’t feel or want to be her parent… but i feel that if she cannot find a job within the next week I will have to sit down and discuss money and spending habits with her as if she were a teenager. (GAH)

I’m so anxious she will run… but I’m anxious when shes in the house.

I want what will be healthy for her. I just don’t know if this will tear me down in the process. I know stuff is still so fresh because she was just let out of the ward earlier this week. But im so stressed out about this… what to do?

please help?

Hi and welcome to our little corner of the internet. I think you’ll find our community here very supportive and empathetic - we’ve all been were you are now.

Here are some starter resources to get you going:

This might be helpful if she’s still in the grip of delusions:

First Aid for Psychosis / Delusions / Schizophrenia

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

Schizophrenia Recovery and Coping Resources

For support for your family in your local community - we recommend joining the local NAMI in your city if you live in the USA and Schizophrenia Society of Canada if you live there:


There are great early psychosis treatment centers around the country - see if there is one close to you:

Is she treatment compliant?

Hope this is helpful… I’m sure others will add their thoughts.

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Oh - and for legal issues related to mental illness (and difficulties getting treatment) - you can call here:

Arlington, Virginia 22203
Phone: (703)294-6001

or do research on this web site:

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

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as of right now… we do not know anything about her treatment. She is very secretive. The doctors told my fiance and their other sister her diagnosis and what meds she was on. But it falls to her to actually show up to a doctor after this. Supposedly she should be contacting them… or no more meds. But she is freshly out. I am not sure how to get that info from her.

In your really difficult situation:

It’s not necessarily your job to give your sister psychosocial rehabilitation. Just like she needs a doctor and therapist, she needs a caseworker and education about life skills along with help finding a job. These are all recommended services for people with schizophrenia and hopefully available to your SIL. Who she needs to find services and supports is called a case manager where we live, sometimes a services coordinator. This person is usually a social worker.

Find emotional support and possibly practical referrals for support through NAMI Family and Friends Support Groups ( or similar. Call the crisis team, the hospital where your sister was treated, and anyplace else for answers. Instead of asking about her, find out whether someone would answer questions about a family member’s concerns for a person with serious mental illness, not using names or dates, but just an example (that exactly describes your real life situation).

If she is not telling you the truth, don’t keep asking. Don’t create too many chances to lie and build defenses. Not your fault she is not forthcoming; you can’t change that for her. Also, don’t take care of anything you don’t want to take care of. Unless you have a legal obligation for some reason (co-signed a lease), you do not have to take care of all that stuff for her. Just let all that go.

I would personally always encourage ongoing attempts to provide basic needs of her life like food and shelter, if you can do so practically and financially.

Practical steps:

  1. Try to spend time with her that you both enjoy.
  2. Listen to her very openly and actively; don’t rush in with answers or concerns. It is stressful to live with someone with one of these illnesses. Try for ten pleasant interactions for every difficult one. Be patient. Many of our concerns are not pressing or immediate in relation to the difficulties of the illness.
  3. Invite her to help with chores you are doing by making simple and specific requests. Have supplies ready in case she chooses to help. Work together.
  4. Support her recovery by offering to take her to appointments if you are available and wish to do so. Request that she creates Release of Information forms for you and her brother to speak with her doctor and other providers in order to support her recovery.
  5. Do not give her any cash at all ever. Not once. If you want her to have something, buy it for her.
  6. If she doesn’t work towards her recovery, find out whether or not you and your husband can live with her exactly the way she is with loving, supportive acceptance.
  7. If needed, call crisis intervention and let them know she does not have enough services. If you cannot support her any longer or her behavior is not behavior you can live with, let them know she is at risk of becoming homeless.

She is an adult. You can let her problems be her problems while still being her friend and trying to support her recovery from illness. Our limits are real. Please notice your own limits, respect them, and take such good care of yourself.

All best to you.


Just saw this too.

You can’t do anything if she will not give you information.

I have called the crisis team and we have actively called her therapist in the psych ward that she just came from. Both could not/would not release any information due to HIPPA… and all i wanted to know was what to do? How do i help her? Where do i find info? Something from someone… nothing was provided… felt like a door in my face.

felt like they were just… “well shes your problem now”

I appreciate your information. we will do our best to guide ourselves around these principles. She does not make it very easy. And I fully want to help her… I do. I just know my limitations as you said. My fiance is the one who doesn’t want her on the street. And she manipulates some of her family members to assist her when they are hindered by their own limitations and could never tell these folks as children NO.

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This site is great, but you might want to look for a local support group for families of people with mental illness too.

I went to my first one the other week, and it was very helpful. I was very nervous to go, and put it off for about 3 months, and probably only went because my son was in the hospital then.

It helped me to hear other people’s stories, and tell my own, but it’s also good to know others who’ve been in a similar situation that know the doctors, hospitals, social services where you live. They might have the one tip that makes all the difference for you & your family.