Support: Both mom and brother are paranoid schizophrenics

Hi all, new here, but not new to living with loved ones with schizophrenia and the enormous challenges this poses at times.

My mom has had paranoid schizophrenia all of my life and prior to me being born from my understanding (me 42/F) she has been untreated this entire time (with exception of her mental health lockups, which has been several, but nothing of great length) AND she has never nor will/can ever admit that she is afflicted by this. And my brother has been suffering with it for many years (he was on Meth for about 10 yrs and we don’t know if that it’s triggered from the drug use or if he was using it to cope with negative symptoms). After a long battle, he is medicated, but even with the meds the delusions are so strong that we cannot have a sibling relationship because he is convinced that I work for the government and I am helping them to conspire against him. (It is heartbreak piled upon heartbreak).

Anyhow, after having a horrific childhood with my mom who is not only untreated paranoid schizophrenic, but a complete narcissist as well, and our dad was an alcoholic/addict and his life was cut short from the substance misuse- it has all gotten to be too much.
After 42+ yrs of such a terrifying existence, I am contemplating walking away from it all. Have no family of my own or friends bc I’ve sacrificed everything trying to take care of them.

Have always had such a strong sense of family duty, EVEN more as I could see she had something wrong with her and I always stepped in to protect her or help (and it’s mostly came at my own demise/detriment) she has traumatized me so severely from childhood on that I have essentially been paralyzed and almost completely shut down for years and years and years from being so unable to even begin to understand what in the world has happened to me. Any interaction with her sends me straight into fight or flight.

After years of having essentially no one in my life other than my mom, I had to hire a therapist because the traumas have been piling up and piling up and I have no stable person to talk to. When I was outlining just the tip of the iceberg of odd/inappropriate/terrifying/etc things that have been said or done to me and or my siblings by her, I sat in shock and horror at what I had just told the therapist. The chaos and enormity of all of the abuse is so profound and severe that it’s almost as though it’s unbelievable. I don’t know how this became my life and I don’t know how I survive all of these things, but I’m tired of purely living in survival mode. People really have no idea what it’s like to be in this position unless they’ve been through it…

While cognitively (now) I understand that people who are suffering in this state aren’t doing/saying these things out of malice, it does not take the trauma away from the child (i.e. me) being told that kidnappers watch me every night from the windows because they are trying to get to her. A gang of rapists. (One of the MANY things she said or done). I was so terrified that I would sleep holding my breath with my entire body covered, even my face. The terror of being a child and not having a single person who was stable in anyway looking out for me or my 2 younger siblings, it is so hard to come to terms with.

Could balk at the fact that here in the US there is such little help out there. Medically, socially, etc. It is like we are here to fend for ourselves trying to take care of people who can be convinced that we are actually trying to harm them. The grief has nearly swallowed me whole…

Is the only way to not go down with this ever sinking ship is to finally save myself and jump off?

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Welcome to this forum. You are not alone. We all share a piece or part of this brokenness.

First, I’m so sorry for your pain. It is painful to read, even without the lifetime of details that you’ve experienced.

This forum is a great place to come and share that pain - that hopelessness - but also a place to feel peace.

Our family dynamic is different- having a son w SZ. But the trauma and horror inflicted on all of us simply can’t be understood. The depths of darkness seemingly knew no limit.

But dear sister please don’t give up. Please know that you’re one of we 1%’s who have experienced this malady. And together we are stronger and able to take another breath - another step - and try again.

My faith has sustained me. But not without a metric shi* ton of doubts and anger. Hang in there. And welcome to our family.

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Hi mssunshine-
I can understand why you want to walk away from acting as caregiver for your family. Ultimately your life matters too and you will probably need to distance yourself in order to protect yourself. I would encourage you to take each day as it comes because you don’t necessarily need to make a permanent break to give yourself some attention and prioritize yourself on days when it is too much.
My mother was bipolar 1 and when she got old she really got herself into some epic crises that I (as her caregiver) had to deal with.
Now that she is gone I am able to reflect more on how sick she was. I definitely didn’t handle everything very well. Still we can only do our best and in your case it sounds like you really need a breather!

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Hi Sando, thank you for the welcome (delay in response as I’m not used to navigating forums). Not a “club” that I nor I’m sure anyone wants to belong to, but I’m glad that there are people here who can empathize and sympathize how difficult it can be at times loving, caring, interacting, etc with family/friends with SZ. Thank you for your kindness.

Hi nowwhat, thank you for the welcome (delay in response as I’m not used to navigating forums). Thank you for sharing your experience and your ability to reflect upon your mother’s passing. Similarly have been able to do the same with my father, but the drug/alcohol addiction (in my case) was nothing parallel to being a child and the terror involved in having your primary caregiver have severe bouts of untreated psychosis and profound delusions. People knew, but perhaps not the extent of it and absolutely not enough help or intervention was provided to help her or us 3 children. It was and is still at times absolutely psychologically terrifying and paralyzing.

Yes, I am definitely experiencing compassion fatigue. While logically I KNOW that she is very ill, in no way does it mitigate the damage that has been caused. That’s where I’m trying to pick up and glue the pieces of my life back together.

Side note: Would really like to state for those who have children with SZ and their grandchildren are in the care of someone living with SZ, PLEASE take a proactive role in their lives. Having lived through this (really not sure how), a lot of support is needed and children need to have a safe space/place/etc.

As stated in my other reply, I’m glad that there are people here who can empathize and sympathize how difficult it can be at times loving, caring, interacting, etc with family/friends with SZ. Thank you for your kindness.