Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Son banging holes in walls

My son is 26 and lives with my husband and I. He is dx as schizophrenia. He has refused medicine more than 6 months. He is awake all night, banging at times. His room and bathroom have big holes in the wall. Recently we found holes behind pictures in our bedroom. He purposely had to move the pictures to do this, then put them back. Any thoughts on this. We are worn out.

I don’t know how to prevent this behavior except for politely asking him to stop.

I understand the feeling of being worn out. Deep breaths and think of something you like to do, then make a plan to do it. Does not solve the holes in walls problem, but maybe refreshes you.

I do feel bad for him with this horrible disease. But he needs to except it and agree to treatment.

Is he throwing things at the wall?

Hang in there…

I’m sorry. I’ve gone thru nites like that w my sz exhusband. Who knows why or how he made the holes in your walls behind the picture frames, you are right to hold hm accountable. IMHO I’d buy him a can of spackle and ask him to fix them, please.

Well holes are to big for a patch job. I think some nights hes so frustrated with hearing voices, Not sleeping etc, he just punches walls. In my room… i have no idea. We were gone for a night when he did that.

But we cant live like this. We just dont know what to do.

Hi Shallcro, I hate that your son and family are experiencing this. I think he’s terrified and needs your help. (inappropriate attention getting behavior in YOUR room).
When he is having a ‘best’ moment…lucid, controlled, etc is the time to reach him. Sit BESIDE him on a sofa and maintain an energy level that is a quiet, centered, and pulled inward as much as you can. Speak slowly, succinctly and truthfully.
“Dad and I are frightened…we can’t imagine how horrible it is for you. Can’t begin to understand how difficult this Brain Disease is for you. Sometimes the chemistry goes haywire in the brain. It makes you do lots of damage to our house. Healthy son(use his name) always respected our home. Do you feel rage right then? What’s causing the feeling? I’m so sorry…so sorry…those sound hallucinations are caused by bad nerve connections in Wernick’s triangle…processes sound and language.”
“Schizophrenia is a horrid disease. It won’t get better on its own. And the medications are equally horrid…they will turn you into a zombie for months…and months…until they don’t, and things start getting better. Dad and I love you SO MUCH and HATE that you’re being attacked by this disease. We have to protect ourselves from this disease, too. I’m asking the Healthy Brain to take the meds for at least 18 months…I’m not talking to the Sick Brain. Don’t answer now…think on it. The meds often change in combination or levels every few months until it’s right for you…that’s Ok. We won’t stop until you’ve beaten this monster. Dad and I have complete faith you can conquer this beast. It’s gonna be really hard. We know it will happen.”

Something along that nature. Men typically IMO prefer ‘bare bones’ language. Write down what you want to say, then condense it to an outline, and speak slowly.
The medical community as a whole is profoundly ignorant about healing and recovery from this disease. I believe putting it into a scientific, physical arena takes a LOT of the shame, guilt, etc out of it. That will require a great deal of research time on someone’s part…but SO worth it. When I started knowing which little parts of the brain were affected, and the profound behaviors those little bitty dinky areas controlled, I was empowered to become a better healing/rehab coach. I HAD to remove a large chunk of myself OUT of the ‘mother’ role because it was too enabling, too discouraged, too much feeling to truly provide what our son needed…which is to get well. How can I best serve that goal…You can do this. Start being the advocate. When you go to a family dinner, whip out your little post it notes, and say, these are the areas this brain disease hits. And lay them out. Name of brain area and small list of what’s controlled by the area. You’ll be AMAZED at how interested a lot more people become, how much ‘judgement’ flies right out the window, and how that takes things into the ‘physical’ body…(which it is) and out of the ‘mental’ illness (I LOATHE that term). Plus, whip a post it out from time to time for your son…he’d rather read things probably, then listen.
Ok…just some thoughts. If any are helpful…great. If not, gotta use what works for him!


Maybe re-directing would work. Do you think your son might be willing to use a punching bag to work out his frustration? They have inflatable ones if cost or space is an issue.

This isn’t the same thing, but I noticed my brother writing on the walls of his care home. I brought him some pads of paper and he mostly sticks to writing on the paper now. Maybe 95% of the time.

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Things escalated this morning. He came out with a a knife befind his back. I called 911. When they got here they noticed a cut on his neck. They took him to hospital. He went willingly. He knew he needed help. I hate this disease.

Thats a good idea. Ill remember that. Hopefully he’ll be back on meds soon.

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You have great words and suggestion. Thanks so much

@Shallcro - I hope your son gets back on his meds. Hang in there!

I’m glad to hear he was taken to the hospital.

I’m glad nobody was badly hurt! Hoping for better days ahead.


He might have been looking for listening devices. It’s a common delusion. I know of someone who dug holes in the plaster all over his apartment looking for them

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Wow. I never thought of that.

My son punched holes in walls as he fought with his voices and was so frustrated with his life.Sometimes his anger would be taken out on me if I interfered so I learned to stay away from him but remained alert to his actions.That stage has finally passed but doors and walls have many, many patch jobs !!

That actually makes a lot of sense since shallcro said it was behind picture frames. Seems more purposeful than just lashing out.

I wonder what the neurological reason is for why paranoia seems to be such a major factor with this illness. Why that feeling or emotion specifically?

It’s also odd that it’s common for them to think that it’s the CIA after them. Of course the government could be listening to us but who cares - I have nothing of interest for them. Perhaps our loved ones think what they are doing is fascinating. My son was writing papers about outer outer space and he thought if he kept writing it down someone would steal his idea. He would write notes to me because “they” were listening through the cell phone. Funny, now that I think about it we were working on getting him a new cell phone when discussing that.

My son did this also. Some of it was looking for monitoring devices and some of the damage my son did was clearly frustration. He wanted us to make it possible for him to live somewhere else.

The outlets and switchplates he actually smashed into the wall - we don’t know what he used, we think he thought he was smashing monitoring devices.

He had told his psychiatrist he was sure we were monitoring him. Our son damaged walls, ceilings, light fixtures, ceiling fans, switch plates, outlets and cupboard doors. He damaged the outside of his frig, but did NOT damage the inside of the frig. He did NOT damage doors, the toilet, the sinks, the stove, the dishwasher or the washer and dryer. All of his windows were intact -as were his window blinds.

He did leave it clean when he moved out. Something we had always stressed with our kids when they were in college. So there’s that.