Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Sz boyfriend... Is it him or his disease talking?

Hello, I am me to the forums and am trying to reach out for support. Please excuse any typos or strange wording as I am on a broken iPhone and auto correct is a pain.
My boyfriend is schizophrenic. We have been together for almost two years now. He is my first boyfriend… Third person I’ve even had sex with and I’m in my mid twenties. I thought we fell in love the moment we met. We have literally been inseparable since then as we travel almost constantly. Our “honeymoon phase” was wonderful and lasted nearly 8 months. It hurts me now to think of it as infatuation but I don’t know what is happening to “us” anymore. We spent several months last winter living with his dad (right after his mother passed) which put a strain on our relationship. His dad accused me of stealing his morphine and said I was abusive, wouldn’t allow him to eat in his own home etc… My boyfriend would turn on me… I tried to deal with it as best I could but it slowly drove me insane… His father would stay up all hours of the night, sitting outside our bedroom and talk about how I am a distraction and nothing got done because I was there… My boyfriend would sometimes defend me other times he would say I lied and that his father didn’t do that. I would pack my gear and try to leave at 2…3…4 in the morning sometimes and he would turn around and say he loves me and needs me and how could I do this to him and leave him just like everyone else… So I would stay.
We traveled more and were very happy once again then we went to my home (just like his VERY isolated) only this time not to work for family but at real jobs. He hated it. He started fainting and having small episodes. We had to leave early because things got so bad. He wouldn’t leave my house, thought everyone was trying to get me to leave him when really all my family and friends loved him. His boss thought he was a great hardworking employee (which he is) but he thought his boss was spying on his Facebook and looking at his FBI profile and mental history records… He asked me if my mom (who is the sweetest met hard working and kind hearted person, so says everyone) was a pedophile… That really hurt me. He thinks I’ve been cheating on him since we got together with his friends and mine from home… He thought I was out doing other things when I was really at work… He has since accused me of being a succubus. He thinks I am not the same person that he met and fell in love with. He looks at my license and asks me my birthday… Asks me to show him my physical deformity all the time to make sure I’m the same person. He thinks I’m lying to him about everything… He’s accused me if having children and lying about it. I’ve always told him the truth… Even things I’ve never told my best friends…
May nights we go to sleep together (he NEVER allows me to sleep away from him) and wake up so happy and in love its hard to imagine anything could go wrong… An hour later he looks at me like I am the most disgusting vile woman he has ever met… I know he would never physically harm me but the way he looks at me actually scares me… He refuses to take medication. Sometimes he used to take Valium he was prescribed a while back when he was hospitalized but his dad offered to send some to us recently to help him and he was dead set on not letting that happen. He has been through some really messed up and traumatic experiences and lately (especially with the death of his mother) I think those things are making his mental health deteriorate.
I just want the guy I fell so in love with back. It’s heartbreaking. He never hears me talk to him… Just stares blankly into space… Thinking, I assume, or hearing voices. I’m not allowed to watch tv and he thinks I’m always scheming on how to run away and leave him behind and steal all his money… When I’m on Facebook or the internet and paying attention to someone else he gets overly possessive and jealous and doesn’t trust me. He’ll ask for the phone for no reason other than to put it away so we can sit in silence. If I start drawing or playing music he tries to get my attention and get me to stop only to get the same result. Even now as I sit here he is getting frustrated. I can’t even tell him what I’m doing right now because he will get angry that I’m trying to reach out to other people. But when I try to talk to him or ask him what’s up or if he’s ok he either ignores me completely or gets angry.
I feel so alone and helpless…I need friends and support. I love him and want him to be on but I know I can’t “heal” him or fix his problems… I understand that he has a disease and I’ve researched a lit recently in others perspectives as “caretakers” of their lived ones, particularly spouses. I’ve had schizophrenic friends and seen them go through episodes where they need to be hospitalized but never been this close to anyone with this condition. I just don’t know if it’s the diseasetat can be so cruel and hurtful and unforgiving or if he just doesn’t live me anymore…
At times he is so childlike and sweet it breaks my heart… I know he must love me… But then in a flash he turns around and accuses me of cheating or being a federal officer sent to spy on him… I just want to love him and for us to be happy again… Will these things change in time? He has warned me before that I may gave to hospitalize him (and that he most likely would not be willing to go). He actually doesn’t even remember this or many if the other hurtful things he has done or accused me of doing… He disposes of my person affects without asking me… He doesn’t want me talking to my mom because she is so overly protective (which is true…)
Please… Give me hope. Please be my friend. I hate that I have to hide this from him but I need support and he just can’t be that right now…
There is so much more… I just need a friend desperately.

Welcome candid,

I just thought I’d say that I did read your whole post and that you are both in my thoughts. I just don’t have much of a post in me at the moment.

Personally I would hope that those I was involved with while I was sick understood that it was often this illness and not who I really am that was causing them all the hurt and frustration. I have had the chance in most cases to at least call or send a message explaining that I am well again and what I’ve been told is “I’m just glad you are okay now”.

Having more or less recovered my sanity I in looking back can see what was the real me and what was merely me reacting to my illness.

By the way though, has your boyfriend been formally diagnosed yet? I don’t remember whether you said he was or not.

@Candid_crazy I’m so sorry for what you are going through.

The truth of the matter is that until he gets on the proper medication, he will not get better. He needs help and unless he poses a threat to himself or others the only way he can get it is if he acknowledges it himself. You can reason with the person but you can not reason with the schizophrenia. No matter how much he may care for you, he will believe what his head is telling him more. In that way it is almost like being a drug addict. The addict will always choose the drug until he gains clarity. Unfortunately unlike a drug addict, clarity during psychosis is highly unlikely. From my experience, he will never ask himself ‘What am I doing’ until the break is over and they can last a really long time and sometimes be indefinite.

Schizophrenics have the same failings as regular people. Schizophrenics can be jealous and condescending and it can have nothing to do with being sick. Believe me, I can be a jerk sometimes even without the schizophrenia. In my opinion the questions to ask to discern the difference is ‘Is it rational’ and ‘Is it in character.’ If it makes absolutely no sense or is completely against his normal behavior (and the key here is normal behavior not his best/idealized behavior) then it is probably the schizophrenia. From what you described my uneducated guess would be most of it has to do with the schizophrenia.

The ultimate truth is you have to take care of yourself first. It isn’t selfish. It is a simple matter of survival. You shouldn’t give away so much of yourself that you have nothing left. People have limits and you need to discern where yours are. The best thing you can do for yourself is try to find some professional assistance. Reaching out and talking to us about it is a good step and I hope the others will be more helpful than me. But you need someone who can help you get him the help he needs and help you learn how to cope.

Good luck

i’m sorry but you don’t need a jealous person in your life. i’ve lived with being accused of cheating all the time and all it does longterm, is destroy any love you might’ve had for the person you’re involved with. you’re constantly javing to explain yourself to bolster their fragile ego and it’s draining. there’s a simple question and answer. ask him straight out. “do you trust me?” if he says yes then he has no need to ever question our feelings or commitment again. if he says no, then what are you still doing there? if it’s his illness talking then he ,ay well b the sweetest guy on the planet some of the time but you’ll never convince him that you’re being faithful. if he’s jus the jealous type then my advice is to walk away as you generally find that these types aren’t faithful themselves and constantly judge you by their own lax standards. either way i’d give him an ultimatum. he either takes meds or you leave. why should you have to put up with abusive behaviour? good luck xxxx

Hmm yeah as sick as I ever got I never accused anyone of cheating or anything like that. I agree that that’s not cool…

I don’t think accusing you of cheating is such a red flag. I have a friend with sz who always accused her husband of cheating when she was untreated. She’s on meds and stable now and its all lovely dovey, so in some people jealousy is an aspect of paranoia and is very much part of the illness. But still, your problem is that he does not have any insight. Barb has posted a lot about how to talk to people who don’t have insight. Maybe look through her postings for some info.

Hi Candid_crazy

I have a partner who is non-compliant with treatment as well. Aside from the local support groups, you will find a lot of insight and information on here as Hatty already mentioned.
Good that you are reaching out…

You will find friends here.
i would talk with your parents and let them know what is going on. I would not stay with someone who is abusive in any manner. Check your area for a NAMI support group.
Really, talk to anyone you can about whatgoing on. I bet you will get plenty of advice and support. What does his parents say about his illnes? Are they supportive? You dont have to be alone with this…

Hi Candid,
Is it the sz talking however it doesn’t mean that you need to accept being talked to or treated certain ways. My son is diagnosed and it’s not easy trying to find that line between being supportive and understanding while expecting to be treated with respect. I try my best to approach it from that angle. I deserve to be treated with respect. Period. I can understand slip ups and even emotional outbursts. Still I won’t tolerate being talked to in certain manners. Even when my son was inpatient in September of last year and started swearing at me I told him to stop or I was leaving… He stopped. So even in psychosis he was able to make that choice. It’s a boundary that took a lot of work to put in place and one that I will not back down on. Yes there will be times that his symptoms cause him to act out. You can’t argue with delusions. Walk away. Don’t respond to his accusations. What he is expressing has nothing to do with you but with what is going on in his own head. Nothing you do will make him feel secure or trust you because you are not the cause of what he is feeling. Schizophrenia and paranoia is.

In the beginning these links helped me a lot to try to understand what was happening and how to respond and cope. - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner. - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on and you should find some long videos - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different. - helped my understand delusions - National Alliance on Mental Illness. - Schizophrenia Society of Canada

Can also find some very useful information here:

As for your boyfriend’s father… It sounds like he may have his own issues…

Check out NAMI and see if there are support groups in your area.

Only you can decide what you are willing to accept. Personally I don’t believe that loving someone with a mental illness needs to come at the expense of your own self-respect. You are important too.

Maybe taking a break and staying with your mom, alone, for a while could be looked at. If he wants to have a relationship with you then maybe he will take steps to make that happen. Healthy steps like seeking treatment. If he doesn’t then that is not your fault. Hope I helped.

I have the exact same situation, except my boyfriend is medicated but his medications are not correct I don’t believe. His mother and I have talked with his treatment team about this, but because he has a history of abusing alcohol (and does - when in the middle of on episode- still binge drink) they assume the drinking is the onset of the episode and don’t listen to us that he falls back into the drinking when his meds (he is on a every 2 week injection of holdol) lose effect (usually about 4 days before the shot comes due).

My boyfriend is diagnosed with Paranoid SZ and the mother of his son was a cheater and so now, a lot of his paranoia manifests in believing that I am cheating. Just this past Monday he wouldn’t answer any of my phone calls, and come to find out, he honestly believed that I had admitted to him the day before that I had been sleeping with my married neighbor! It never happened. I have never cheated and we never had that conversation. I find myself not only constantly questioning every move I make or move he makes, but I’m also constantly justifying the everyday events of my life and constantly defending his absurd behavior to my family, who while sweet and supportive, don’t understand the nature of his illness and believe that he is just being rude and hiding behind his diagnosis.

My question to you is this, my BF will often do things and when I mention them later, he won’t remember it happening. For example, he had a bad three day episode where he banned me or his mom from seeing him then on the third day called both of us like nothing happened. He claims the only thing he remembers is waking up at his dad’s place all those three days (my BF has his own apt btw). Is the loss of time/memories typical in SZ? My parents believe it is a ‘convenient symptom.’

My BF is honestly one of the most gentle, sweet men I have ever met but when the symptoms appear, it is overwhelming for me. I can usually push through the delusions about me cheating and get him to realize what is happening, but like you, I have three or four ‘normal’ days then we go into two or three chaotic days where he is all over the map interms of his mood, behaviors, and beliefs of what is real and what isn’t. I don’t want to lose this relationship. Honestly, it feels like his illness if holding us hostage and I’m still trying to find the line and balance btw being understand that it’s his illness and not allowing myself to be an emotional punching bag…

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My fiancé is sz and I have been the focus of his frustrations when he goes into psychosis.

AFC110 I want to answer your question with your boyfriend forgetting events. It happened to me during the early years of being with my Fi. The first time he flew into a full blown psychosis episode with me, he ranted and raved in public. It got so bad that the assistant cook came out and asked how the meal was. In reality he was checking to see if I was ok. I was stunned and shocked. Of course I was the one in the wrong, he listed all my flaws and how annoyed he was that he could not sleep with other women because he was with me!.

Two weeks away from him, I called him to see if I could have some items back. He acted like nothing happened, and wondered what I was up to and how I was. To a 22 year old it was full shock.

I am 30 now and yes most people with SZ are sweet and gentle people. They are just living with this imbalance unless medicated they will be in denial with their condition.

As a schizophrenic, this really makes me wonder how much of an impact I’ve made on my own family because I am the same way sometimes, so maybe I can give some insight on the thought progress. It seems he is more paranoid than disorganized, like me, so our thoughts may be different, but I find I have a really bad problem with misinterpreting situations. Most of the time, I warp thing and make them seem threatening or dismissive towards myself and that wasn’t the intention at all. He sounds like he needs stable medicine. Or at least some type of therapy. I’ve found that with a thought progress like this, he would benefit most from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as someone of the forum has suggested to me. Just try your best to patient. I can’t vouch for everyone, but most of the time our harmful words or actions are just a symptom of us not being able to best assess a situation.

I wish I could help more, and I did read the whole post, but I feel this more of a family conversation that for me to be butting in haha.

I sincerely wish you the best of luck because it sounds like you truly love him.

Hi Candid Crazy.

I am reading your story it is a similar pattern to mine. Just let you know many of us on here are partners of people with SZ and we have gone through very much the same thing. I have seen the demon that takes over my fiancé when he is angry with himself.

I have been where you are now. Alone, depressed and feeling like why does everyone else have a nice partner and I have someone who switches from a great person to a demon. At times I felt I was going into my own descent into madness because I could have left him and yet I was so deeply in love with him I put his psychosis episodes aside.

Last year I left him, he was becoming more erratic and in fact was violent (which I will not go into). He was on the verge of killing me and himself. It took me all I had to walk away. He still contacted me via Facebook and emails. Ranting at me how it was my fault and that I never did anything for him, I was a lousy so and so anything he could find and knew of my insecurities he would throw my way trying to hurt me.

In the end he was admitted to a mental health facility. He spent a few months there, being monitored and treated. He called me and I would call him. I encouraged him to stay.

All that time my family was so concerned about my well being and telling me I should not go back after I confessed what he did to me. My mother was all about “Me me me” thinking he was going after her when in reality he would be going after me.

When he got out I would see him for two hours once a week. We talked and sorted out things and I told him I would beside him as long as he is medicated.

All I can say for you is maybe you need to leave him. It is going to be tough but you need to think of yourself. It was what I had to do. Did I feel guilty for leaving? Yes. Did I miss him? Very much so. I dated a guy for three months but my fiancé was on my mind 24/7. Am I happy he is now treated? Yes I am.

Should I have done it earlier? Yes.

You clearly need to leave, he needs time to himself. You will be the bitch of the hour in his world however you need to put your safety and happiness first.

I second this. It sounds like he is cutting you off from family, friends, hobbies, communication, or even the right to go/sleep where you choose.

In my experience, creating hard boundaries for yourself and your own well being is probably the best way to help him. My phone. My privacy. My internet time. My time with friends. My right as a human to have my own identity, activities, and life. Otherwise you just get swallowed by him and his illness, and the resentment builds, which means less care and support for him and a damaged relationship overall.

I agree they will end up cutting you off from others. Because you are their constant reminder of being a human. I can not tell you how many friends (including a friend I have known since 12 years old) have left me. They do not understand what we are dealing with. All they see is their friend with a to be blunt a crazy person and we must be the crazy ones for putting up with it.

I did have some friends in town. However I never went and spent time with them. In fact my FI and I were left on our own. It was him and I sometimes for 24/7. Until I got a job and was away from him. It was one place I could gather my sanity and forget what was waiting for me at home (pre medication days).

In my private world my FI and the SZ was all there was. There was days where everything was fine and I thought yes it is going to be ok. He was on top of the world and treated me like a princess. Then I would see his features change and his mood sullen and since I am the only human being in his world he cares for he would take it out on me. It left me questioning my own personality and my own doings for setting him off.

I learned through therapy it is not us, we are not at fault. The SZ partner hates themselves and are scared of what is going on in their own world mentally. They think we will leave them, and often times try to push us away so they can build up a wall to protect themselves.

For many years all I wanted to hear from my FI was “I love you Cleo.” He showed me he did love me when his demons were at bay. However when he did say it, it was during sex. It was as if love=sex in his world.

Now since he is medicated he tells me everyday how much he loves me and is thankful for me being with him. I love him so much since the early days of meeting him.

As I said all it took was for me to get the courage to leave him. I did not see him for six months and within that time he sought the treatment he needed. I don’t know how long you have been with your partner? For me it took 8 years to do what I did. Please do the same. It does not make you a bad person, it makes you see that he needs help.

YES. This is so close to my own experiences it is scary!
My partner and I have been together for almost eight years, and his biggest break (ongoing- which we are still dealing with) was only half a year or so ago.

I can completely empathize. That sick feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you see the change come over his face and his eyes go flat. The frustration of a morphing, fluid history at changes with each recollection, or the fact that he doesn’t remember half of what he said or did. The jealousy when a friend or coworker bursts out crying over a problem that seems so easy- like a garage sale getting rained out, or a missed appointment.

I always joke that loving him/a sz is like loving a hand grenade. Everything is wonderful and idyllic until he has an episode. You live on eggshells and become so isolated, unless you forcibly set up rules and carve out a space for yourself. Sometimes that means leaving him…sometimes it means setting up strict personal retreats where you can escape to to get away from him.

Sometimes those can be mental retreats, like burying yourself in your phone and texting friends, or having a hobby that he can’t take part in. You need a lifeline to the real world that he is not allowed to be a part of, and can’t take away.

i can definitely relate to your boyfriend, ive had similar thoughts as he has had and acted the same way. the only difference is that i can get myself out of my paranoia and schizophrenia mentally. it doesnt sound like he can do that, and i dont know if other schizophrenics can do that because my doctor said it was rare, but there is still a way to work around it. but most of all its is definitely his paranoia talking to you not his actual self.

first of all for me stress and increased emotions bring out my schizophrenia and paranoia. while you were living at his dads house, the fact that his father was accusing you of things may have acted as a trigger for his schizophrenia and paranoia. and its seems like he has more paranoia then anything because of the way you described him. the only thing that i can see being his schizophrenia is the fact that he called you a succubus. which could have been told to him by the voices, or even shown to him in a “vision”. which is something that i have been through with my wife when we were first goin out.
second of all when he “zones” out it can either be him listening to the voices, or he could be responding to stress or his voices my taking himself some “him time”. its just a response the body is taking to stress or emotion and there by helping him relax. its definitely good to talk to him and find out which one it is and if he is just “zoning out” let him just get to it. there have been a few times that i have been “zoning” and i have had enough time to release the emotions or stress and i have a triggered response to it being my symptoms increase. if he is listening to the voices its always good to get his mind on something else have him work out, or some type of physical activity. the exercise will help him to release tension and reduce his overall stress and hopefully the symptoms if stress is what is triggering it. as well it might help to even out his mood, to be more easy going.
third of all, its not apparent what level of communication you have with him toward you emotionally or the level of his descriptiveness. but its is definitely necessary to have him express his emotions to you, he may not do it at first but it if you keep slow chip away at it. it will definitely get better, especially if he is in a “turtle” mode where he just wants to put up wall, and not really explain anything just make accusations. i have definitely been like that in the past and its hard to get past sometimes. and from my opinion and your description that is what its sounds like he is doing.
but you definitely want to get him on his medication its sounds like you have a good window for it in the morning as well because when he is staring at you lovingly may mean that he is at that point being “himself”. and that sounds like a great time to get him to take his medication. i would just start off with with just asking him " would you like to take your medication today?" as to not set him off his mood too much. but its is definitely apparent that you need to get him to take a medication for paranoia if you dont have one already. because the valium is just for anxiety and other things not paranoia.
hope this helps you!

thought i would say hi…i’m the sane one on here !?!
take care

Candid Crazy –

Any update on your situation? My BF and I had a great 5 week stretch and then tonight, he got that dead, flat, mad expression that let me know he was obsessing and sure enough, he kicked me out of the apartment and told me it was over because he had caught me in a lie (I wasn’t lying and made sure to always say everything exactly the same everytime I say it). It don’t feel like we are really over but I’m so torn. I love him and miss him horribly when this happens, but at the same time, I’m so tired of being accused of being bad or wrong when I try so hard to do right and be a good person… His disease is making me feel like I’m going crazy

When they tell you to leave, do it. Because they know they are raging internally and you going to be their main focal attack. Be it verbal, mental, physical or sexual.

I have been in your position many times over 8 years (he has been on treatment for one year), I have felt I am going crazy because of all the delude accusations. He told me he could not be without me, then it would be that I need to listen to him more and my favourite “They are going to break us up in 2014. They know everything about us and see what we do together.”

Then the accusations where he said I was going to leave him, he said “You don’t love me. everytime you look at me I see hate in your eyes.”

I am not sure who “They” were and the Schiz did break us up in 2013. I could not handle it anymore. I love him so much and I knew deep down he loves me too but kept pushing me away because of the SZ. When I left him it was during the height of his psychosis where he did become violent. I had to leave for both of our safety. It took three months before he was admitted to a mental health hospital after I left him.

AFC110 you are a good person, it took me so long to see that within myself because I lost so much confidence. Remember we are dealing with SZ. I am still with my other half, he will forever take medication and I know I will be his primary carer. Many people with SZ are in fact good people with a horrible disease that is always going to reside within unless medicated.