Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

What tone to take?

Backstory: several years ago DD was discharged from long term psych admission. In a tough housing market, we chose to buy a townhouse to secure safe, stable housing in a community several hours drive from us. Her history as tenant was good, only issue ever was $$ shortage. She developed a relationship with fellow Sz person, who moved in. All was good for a few years, as both were med compliant and semi employed.

Fast forward to a year and a half ago. Neither working, car repossessed, both stopped meds. She retreated, became near agoraphobic, he seems to have returned to a life of petty crime. We initiated an involuntary committal for her this Spring, she was released against medical advice, but afaik has been taking meds, and is doing her best to find (and keep) a job. He is creating endless problems in the 12 unit complex. Yesterday I got an email regarding inappropriate use of common property such as electrical outlets and attaching decals. The biggest issue is garbage. The complex has a dumpster which he has been filling with unacceptable items—furniture, electronics, clothing, suitcases… as well as leaving some things scattered around. This sometimes leaves no room for others to dispose of appropriate trash, and will incur charges from both the disposal company and Strata. No one there wants to approach him directly—he is a big man, and can be loud.

We previously had a good relationship, he called me Mom, and was very appreciative of all we provided. In the past year, he has avoided us, making sure to be away when we visited, and has been resentful of mild admonishments. We have asked DD to try and rein him in, but she defends him and denies a problem. This cannot go on. I plan on starting with an email, but am really struggling with how to approach. I doubt gentle reminders/asking nicely will be effective, but I am reluctant to issue ultimatums and threats to sell. I just can’t take the ongoing stress and guilt for the discomfort and inconvenience of the other residents. OTOH, if we are not providing housing, I don’t know where they will go. They could never afford rent and there is a years long wait for subsidized housing. Also, will there be a pattern of transgressions-eviction? Legally, we can’t evict him unless she agrees as he isn’t a defined ‘tenant.’ She is away for the week, and I don’t know her current feelings. Last year she wavered between we needed to evict him and if he goes/she’ll go.

I would welcome suggestions on what tone to take to start this thing off, and how and when to escalate. Should I even ask where this stuff is coming from? What if he denies doing this? Threats of fines won’t bother him, as it will obviously be me paying. While we’re here, how best to approach her when I get the chance? Yes, I know about LEAP, but I’m not sure how to initiate in what surely will be a confrontational setting.

It’s a tough one , you need to catch her in a good mood and then perhaps say to her in a calm way that you are getting many complaints and the HOA has given their last warning and if it happens again they would get evicted and it would be out of your hands . I would also get advise from a lawyer how to handle this . I wouldn’t bother asking where the stuff came from as i’m sure you will not get an honest answer . If he denies doing this then say someone saw him and thats how it got reported . Hope this helps

I found it’s best to present the problem simply and ask for her input on how the issue should be handled… and go from there. Maybe if she feels empowered by helping you brainstorm the problem you can partner together.