Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

SZ SIL baby shower


#1

SIL has SZ. I’m 7 mos pregnant (and am a bit scared I should have been taking choline this whole time, after reading some stuff on this forum, but that’s another story), and though I’m not supposed to know about it, partner let slip the shower is soon. I’ve been with said partner, officially in fam’s eyes, for just about a year. I had a cousin with sz, but we didn’t interact much, so I am still learning to care and cope, and self care. (My dad has BPD, and I’m very sensitive about one person’s lack of insight traumatizing everyone else)
Enough background, getting to the point. Since meeting SIL, basically every time has had its, typical sz incident, from not showering and reeking like tobacco enough to make me ill on Mother’s day lunch, to emotional manipulation, to inappropriate remarks during social settings, just the whole gamit. So I kind of wonder if she even has “good days” or if I’ve seen one. But I’m always sensitive to the fact that she’s sz, so even when she throws me off guard, I try to respond in gentleness, always.
I just wanted one day, ONE DAY, where, in front of my friends, and some colleagues, and some of the family, SIL wouldn’t suck the oxygen out of the air with her sz, where the focus would actually be on the baby, my partner, and I. I feel shitty asking that she not come obviously (I’m not organizing this, or else I’d have cleverly asked the family to come early and then counted on her wanting to leave as soon as too many people showed up.) Having learned from my past, I can’t let one person’s inability to see me as my own emotional being with needs prevent me from being one. I need to not have my own struggles – anxiety, depression, more that I’m not allowed to say because of TOS, activated, once in a while. The sz emotional manipulation is particularly triggering to me.
I’m sure you can guess, someone let slip to SIL that shower is happening. We all live in a country where it’s not a tradition, but I’m getting one because I’m American and have American friends. I’m also looking up a support group in my area, and will call tomorrow, but keep reading, sympathetic listener, right now I have no support, my partner being away on work. Even just writing this is helping though. Thank you community for existing.
I get a text from her tonight “being like is it true that I’m invited to the shower” (I knew she meant ‘not’) but obvs, in sz fashion, no hi how are you, just straight to the accosting. So I called and was honest, I tried to be gentle, like reminding her I know SZ is hard, and the behaviours we don’t like come from that, but at the same time, she needs to help us back too by showering and realizing that all those who surround her also are affected by her sickness, reminded her mother’s day. She counters with “you don’t accept me” (poor me behavior) So I reminded her I love her, I accept her, and I want to do things with her, but I want one day. It’s not personal, it’s against some of her behaviours etc. I’m sorry she’s in pain (because I really am!) I asked her to tell me how she felt, to let it out, and she started to sob and hung up.
After the call, I texted reiterating my sorry for her pain and offering to do something with the family if she wants. She responded with “well I’m sensitive unlike you.” So I responded with that I understood her pain had turned to anger, but insulting me wasn’t going to make me change my mind. And that’s where we left it.

I feel like a terrible person, bc I know it’s her family too, my baby is her family too, and believe me, I want to do things with their family (I organized the MD lunch for example for their mom.) I even want to do things with her too, but she usually cancels on plans, or dys-behaves in a way that makes me uncomfortable to be around her. Or her hygiene. . . .
People with sz, can you nicely tell me if/how I could have been less harsh? Or maybe if there was a way I could have communicated my concerns to her before it got to this? I’m always walking on eggshells around her tho, bc I’m afraid of setting her off. She’ll complain about everything, and anytime anyone says anything like you can get help, she poor me’s and gets defensive.
Carers and fellow co-copers, am I a bad person? Do you not need breaks? Should I be thinking of heading for the hills?
Have I fubar’ed everything?
Thank you for reading such a long post. You’re a champ.

Update: I realize my mistake was not trying to achieve boundaries before banishment. I’m trying now to come up with kind of like a contract: like here are the things you don’t realize but that i do do for you bc of your SZ and here is what i expect from you at family functions. If anyone has tips on making something like that or one that they have had success with I’d be really excited to see it. Thanks and <3


#2

Wish I had personal experience to share but I will say that you seem to have good insight into all that is going on with yourself and with SIL. Given what has already transpired, perhaps you’d make a special date with her or another small group of ladies to celebrate baby or something else. Is there anything she can help with, such as putting together baby’s scrapbook? Yes, establishing boundaries is probably a good idea, but keep that separate from a “fun” event you may schedule with her, assuming you can tolerate that for a short time.


#3

At this point in my life, if I were you, I think I would treat my baby’s aunt as I would want people to treat my own child should he or she be inflicted with schizophrenia as an adult.

Part of me is just amazed at the joy and accomplishment this family must feel on having made their relative with scz such an involved member of their family.


#4

My family member has or has had many of these outward signs of the illness. I have never witnessed or experienced emotional manipulation from a person with sz. Our family events are arranged in order to include.

I encourage you to accept your own preferences without attributing SIL’s behavior to your interpretations, if that makes sense. The (poor me) might be an interpretation on your part that may not reflect SIL’s internal reality.

Make your own boundaries for your own reasons, based on what you really need.

We family members and caregivers of people who have sz love our children as much as you love your baby you will be welcoming soon. The love a parent has for a child is unconditional. You will soon be experiencing one of the most wonderful parts of life, becoming a mother. Congratulations and best, best wishes