Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Standing up to someone with schizophrenia

Hi,
My sister is lowering her medication again and I can see her slipping. She doesn’t listen to me. Her behaviour is becoming more aggressive. Anyone any ideas about how to stand up to a potentially violent schizophrenic? She’s tried to stab me before and she’s hit me a lot.

Anyone any ideas?
Thanks,

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As much as you might hate to do so, you must engage the law if physical abuse occurs. It is another path to get her back into treatment. Also you cannot allow yourself to be physically abused regardless the reason.

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You dont and never turn your back to a SZ…

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Your sister doesn’t have the knowledge to lower her meds. My 26 yr old son thinks he doesn’t need his meds too, but we are the ones administrating it to him to insure he gets what he’s suppose to get. And like the other reply was… call the Police or Sheriff’s office. No one should be abused in any way.

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No one should remain in an unsafe situation. If outside help is needed and the threat of violence is not imminent, there are some resources here including a “warm line” https://nami.org/Support-Education/NAMI-HelpLine/Top-HelpLine-Resources

If a more tenuous situation develops, call a Crisis number for your state or locality. If you call 911, ALWAYS ask for CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) and hope that there is such a team available in your area. http://citinternational.org/What-is-CIT.

Document your sister’s mental health history (details, facts) in writing. If you can provide evidence of the debilitating history, or history of harm (or threats of harm) to herself or others, it is more likely that she will get detained to a psychiatric facility where she can get help.

It may be that involvement with law enforcement is necessary. I felt so awful, absolutely terrible and heartbroken. the first time I called the police on my daughter’s threatening behavior. But in the end, it contributed to getting her successfully medicated. It took 5 involuntary hospitalizations, and two arrests (one originated by me, one that happened spontaneously when she was out and about on her own) to get my daughter’s illness controlled.

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Welcome, Tamer, and thanks for your reply. My sister has come at me with a knife, beaten me over the head, hit me and kicked me numerous times and tonight she kicked me. I tried to hit her back and did, and then blocked her number, screamed at her and kicked her door and warned her not to come anywhere near me again.
I’ve said it before on this forum and I’ll say it again, regardless of who I offend: I firmly believe that the root cause of “schizophrenia” is due to people not acknowledging some unsavoury truth in their lives. This anger, much like the anger that Cain experienced when God favoured Abel, consumed Cain, so much so that he killed his brother.
I believe that my sister lies about her delusions. I believe she knows exactly what she’s doing. I believe she’s a cruel bitch, and gets away with her bad behaviour because she hides behind the mask of a schizophrenic. The psychiatric community doesn’t even know what the word “schizophrenic” means. It’s an umbrella term invented by psychiatrists who don’t know what to do with people who are difficult.
I believe that if schizophrenics were really stood up to, that they would change their bad behaviour, because that’s all they’re being, bad bitches and bastards who are ill tempered and cruel to people who they see as weaker than them. That’s not an illness - that’s a bad egg.

I think I should and I will and I don’t care if I die doing it anymore. I’m not taking this fucking abuse from the wee bitch any longer.

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I’ve reached the point where I don’t care anymore if she lives or dies. She’s made my life unbearable.

You are entitled to your belief but it is unfair to those who are new to dealing with SZ to present as fact things that are not. Please do the research. SZ is NOT bad behavior!

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I think you’re right. It’s impossible to stand up to her. I’m going to have to move out of my flat again. I live in the flat next to her. I can’t even live near her now.

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Hi,
Well, I’m not sure if my sister has it or not. I think she may be pretending she has it. I’m going to have to move away from her. I’m curious, violent disproportionate bullying behaviour, is that good or bad?

If someone is a harm to themselves or anyone else, call the police.

Yep, will do. Called a domestic violence helpline. Woman said that because my sister was only doing it to me and not to my other sister, that she’s in control of her behaviour and she’s modifying it. Woman on domestic violence helpline said that she shouldn’t be doing this to me and in a way I’m enabling her bad behaviour.
Next time it happens the police will be involved.

Some of it IS bad behaviour.

It is likely that behaviors and personalities that a person had prior to onset of SMI are still there. If the person had a mean streak before, well that can certainly still be present. SMI can also bring on behaviors that would never have happened with their normal brain. If you were scared or angry, not understanding what your brain was doing to you, you might lash out at others, too. If you believed that the FBI was spying on you and that your family was in on the plot, you’d react in negative ways to your family.
Another way to look at this is, if your mother had Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, or even a UTI that can cause psychosis, would you blame her hateful behavior on her or on the illness? Trust me, I understand that it is SO hard sometimes to separate the person from the illness, but if we want to help our loved one, we must do that. Also, we can take responsibility to establish boundaries with our loved ones without calling the police. (But DO seek professional intervention if there is danger involved.) There are lots of ways to create boundaries. They have to be boundaries you can and will carry out if needed (not empthy threats.) You can negotiate for the things you provide…cigarettes is a big deal for many people with SMI. Why would I give cigarettes to my loved one if he was cursing at me? (Note: these are NOT examples of my OWN loved one.)

It is so hard to explain all this in a few words on a blog. That’s why I highly encourage folks to seek help from a NAMI Family Support Group, or even better, to sign up for NAMI’s no cost Family to Family class. I learned SO much that way.

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She only lashes out at me, and my other sister lives with me. She never lashes out at her. She controls her behaviour with the other sister. A domestic violence advisor said she knows what she’s doing if she’s doing it only to you.
Um, hopeforus, I’m not trying to be mean, I’m really not, but sometimes I find that as “carers” or “supporters” we enable this illness instead of trying to grapple with it head on.
It has been a difficult fact for me to face, but I firmly believe that my sister is being purposely malevolent and malicious towards me and it’s not her illness. Perhaps this is the mean streak you were talking about. If she is, she’s giving people with real schizophrenia a very bad name. Her vanity and narcicissm know no bounds, and I’m speaking truthfully here. It’s like society nowadays celebrates those who are aggressive, mean and vain, and anyone who’s soft is seen as the problem. Even in your post all the onus you put is on me - it’s my responsibility to establish boundaries.
I don’t think that you’re an expert on this illness. I’ve still not heard a valid argument here. If she was really schizophrenic, she’d treat everyone with the same paranoia and confusion. I know, because I had a psychotic episode once and it’s nothing like what she’s demonstrating. There is a real malevolence towards me, it’s real, and I don’t think it’s an illness.
I’m writing this because I don’t think that it’s fair to other carers out there. We’re basically sacrificing our lives for someone else and that’s not fair. We get no thanks, no help from anyone. And the thing that annoys me the most, is that I do think, (in my sisters’ case) that a lot of it is put on so that she could get benefits and not have to work.
She’s a horrible person. I don’t like who she’s become. And I want to get away from her, because I don’t like who I am when I’m around her and I don’t like her hitting, punching and kicking me.
I’m planning to leave her in God’s hands now. I’ve seen her through two hospitalisations, and I’ve lived near here for two years now. We both had to get out of bad domestic violent situation with my father and mother and we’ve now both the confidence I believe to live out our own lives.
I’m going to start disengaging myself from her properly now as I firmly believe that if I’m around her anymore that I’ll go insane. She’s a bad person, a really really bad person. I don’t know what I’ve done to her. But I’m not going to waste any more of my life looking after and listening to someone who cares only about herself. It’s difficult to say, but I don’t care anymore what happens to her. She can get lost in the abyss of her own selfishness now. I’ve done enough. I want to be happy and I’m done listening to her go on and on about stuff that just isn’t true. It’s wrong to listen to such garbage every day, and actually to be phsycially threatened if I don’t agree with her.
I’m done. And I think this post is important for other carers out there. You don’t have to pussyfoot and tiptoe around your loved one if they’re making your life hell. No one deserves that. Yes, schizophrenia is awful, but you don’t have to let your loved one take you down with them. For anyone out there who agrees with me, I’d love to hear from you. Hopeforus seems to want me to be miserable. If there’s anyone out there who’s had enough, like me, please DM me. I’d love to hear from you to work out a strategy for leaving your loved one for good. I’ve had enough. Peace. x

Yes, others should comment on this. But please know that I do NOT want you to be miserable. I am trying to help. Each person has to decide how much effort they are willing to put into this. I am trying to give HOPE for a better future. Establishing boundaries is how you protect yourself so that you DO NOT have to be miserable. If a person has SZ, there are certain aspects of their behavior that are affected by the illness. It does not excuse bad behavior, but it does excuse psychotic behavior. Yes, our loved ones CAN be in control of their actions and choices but not so likely when they are psychotic. This is the challenge of SMI. Becoming more knowledgeable about the illness is the best start. I thought I knew a lot early on in this journey, but I found out there was a lot I did not know or understand. I am not an expert, but I have received training and I’ve put a lot of effort into learning. I can tell you the books I have read, the webinars I have listened to, the conferences I have been to, the meetings, the support groups, and the trainings I have completed. I continue to seek out medical and practical expertise and to learn about things like changing laws so that we can more easily get help for our loved ones. But each person’s experience is different. So I’ll leave it that. Please know that I care about each person on this Forum as I care about you. Otherwise, I have no reason to keep coming back here.

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I think the domestic violence advisor is way out of their area of expertise when they decide they can define someone’s control of their schizophrenia so simplistically.

Read other threads on the forum and you will find lots of cases of people being given advice on making their own way in their lives. Go and have your own life or stay and read about people’s experiences to try to figure out how to live with your sister

Lots of threads will reveal histories where the family member with scz will have a severe issue with only one other member of the family. Sometimes it’s just with their dad, sometimes it’s just with mom, sometimes it’s just with one sibling.

One family I knew personally had to deal with the sibling with scz focusing “negativity” constantly on a much younger sibling. The judge ordered her into her own housing after her time in a mental health facility ran out - due to death threats toward the younger sibling.

One of the scz experts has written about a family member with scz who focused negativity on an infant. That family member was also removed from the home.

Edited to add- each of these examples were cases of unmedicated family members.

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Hi Hermana. I just want to say yes, that I do identify with your situation in many ways. The physical, mental and verbal abuse is very familiar and is never ok. We each make the choice, to varying degrees, to choose to love and be there for the person that we know our loved ones to be despite their illness, and we all decide how well we ourselves are able to compartmentalize their behaviors while in psychosis and when they are not. Seek help for yourself if you need. Try talking with a therapist of your own.
I have also always advocated in this forum that it’s ok when there comes a point where we have to do what we need to do for our own health (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical) and to never ever have to feel guilty about that. Ever.
It sounds like your sister has the support of her other sisters, and if you’re feeling targeted, and your physical safety is compromised, nobody can blame you for not wanting violence to continue to be part of your own life. Nobody can ever blame you for that. Do what you need to do for your own well-being. We are no good to anybody else ever if we don’t do what we need to protect and nurture our selves first. I hope the best for you. I hope you can envision a future for yourself that’s free of pain and can put together a plan for yourself to pursue that vision. Someday that peace and that laughter and that light you envision can be yours.