Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

When you feel threatened for your life

I have been raised by my grandparents. They had six children. Three of them turned out to have sz (one of them is my mother).
They have the same diagnosis but are very different indeed.
Their eldest son, my uncle Joe, was the easier one to deal with. I became his guardian when my grandfather developed alzheimers. He was a classic sz patient: heard voices, talked back to them, had to have have help with his hygiene, and much more. It’s not easy living with someone suffering from sz but he was a sweetheart. Never once I felt uncomfortable or frightened around him. He died of a heart disease.
My mother, on the other hand, is a challenge and the reason I found this group.
And there is their youngest son. He suffers from sz and epilepsy. He’s never been on meds for sz, claims he doesn’t believe in psychiatrists.
The trouble he gives us all the time is that we have to take care of all his expenses. He could never earn his keep. Far from it. He tends to accumulate all sorts of debts.
Ten years ago, out of the blue, he attacked me. Not slap in the face violent, he almost killed me. It’s not easy for me to admit this or go into details. (I was raised to be a strong woman, cared for my grandfather when he had alzheimers, my sz uncle Joe, my sz mother, and my grandmother, while being in college and working my ass off. I refuse to be a victim.)
But for a couple of minutes (I can’t precise how long it was) when he was hitting my head over and over against the marble floor, I thought that that was it. The most curious things go through your mind when you think you’re about to die. I remember all I could think throughout that final agression was that I hadn’t accomplished nothing worthy in my life and told God that it was a shitty plan to have me die like that (even though I was an atheist at the time).
My mother’s the one who saved my life. I had given up. I thought this is it. This is when I die. I was going through memories of my life already.
I was pinched to the floor and having my head stricken to the hard marble floor over and over.
My mother threw herself against him enough to off balance him so I could get away.
A lot has happened in the last ten years but what I can tell you is that he threatens me every time he can.
I never pressed charges. Not because he’s schizophrenic. I’ve had my share with sz people and they’re not like that.
When you welcome a relative into your house and he tries to kill you I really don’t care what he has.
It was my grandmother who witnessed it all who asked me not to call the police on him. It’s her son and I understood at the time. I would do everything for my grandmother. So charges were never pressed.
Circumstances have changed though. In the meantime he managed to assault my mother fiscally and threatened to commit her to a hospice (which he cannot legally but is enough to destabilise her), and even my grandmother is afraid of him.
Enough is enough.
It’s up to me to press charges.
But it doesn’t come easily to me.
Being here helped me so much. But sharing this shameful past with the police is a dreadful perspective. I’m not the one to be ashamed but being a woman in my country means that everyone gets to judge me. I was at home minding my own business when I was assaulted.
But histeric, which, “in therapy”, meaning not of sound mind, these are some of the words I’ll be called.
I have until Friday to press charges and go through the humiliation that goes with it.

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I’m so sorry that you are going through this. I recently chose to “be the bad guy” with my sz son- Not nearly the issue your have in front of you but nevertheless less I felt like I was crossing the line. I am glad I did. Sometimes I was stuck in the crazy cycle and bad behavior became the norm and I became dull to it. I realized I was not willing to continue dismissing the behavior. The result has been 8 weeks of treatment for my son.
My point is you need to do what you have to do to have a calm stable loving life.
Please know that many of us care for you and have had to make tough unimaginable choices. No judgement from me- do what you need to do to be safe!

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Thank you so much for your support. I understand and deeply respect your decision. I applaud it.
I don’t think I’m quite there yet. 10 years have gone by and I’m still not ready. Shame on me.
I chickened out.
Once again I didn’t press charges against my uncle. The man beated me to a pulp, terrorizes me everytime he gets and yet I’ve decided to give him one last chance.

I’m trying to convince myself that it’s for purely egotistical reasons. I don’t think he’s a good person underneath the mental illness. Excuse me, but as far as I know, sz does not turn you into a pathological liar or someone who robs one’s parents blind, or one’s colleagues and clients (cannot for the life of me understand why he hasn’t been disbarred yet). He’s essentially a con man who’ll resource to violence when needed. No morals.
He’s never been a stand up guy. So the person underneath the mental illness is not good to begin with.
But the mental illness is still there, it’s undeniable.
So is it fair to me to press charges knowing that he is schizophrenic?
It probably is (since he’s been a constant threat for ten years now) but I don’t want that on my conscience.
No good deed goes unpunished. Yet, I’m hoping this good deed is the exception.
I have a bad feeling about this though. Where I live you cannot expect the police to come promptly.
Lots of love.

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Sounds like you’ve had your hands full from the get and are also a hugely compassionate, loving person with an incredible amount of integrity and brute core strength. I am amazed reading your story at your resilience and am not at all envious. I too have suffered the physical attacks though (never went to hospital as many injuries were just too obviously assaults and I only have so many plausible excuses, never advocated involving authorities in most cases if it could be avoided and the ER would have been obligated to report). I managed the residuals of mental and emotional traumas… never pressed charges myself somehow justifying that it’s ‘the disease’… I did that for ten years with my ex husband who was a paranoid sz. Heard voices. The voices often would tell him to kill me, kill himself, kill his mother, the animals… I’ve changed since then. My take on it has changed. I believe even with mental illness the ill still need to be in some way accountable for their choices and actions. I can’t say for certain that I am big enough yet to actually press criminal charges as I’ve very personal strong beliefs and convictions against prison as any kind of ‘treatment’, but as you say when it comes down to it if the person that is there underneath the disease is dangerous, criminal, violent, then it’s very possible I’d let the justice system decide. Does your life and your mothers life have enough value to you that it’s worth the brief embarrassment of turning over evidence of the history of mental illness making the necessary parties involved aware of the seriousness of such illnesses?
And if nothing else perhaps going down to the police station and just filling out some paperwork for a restraining order?

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Thank you so much for your input. I’ve been thinking a lot about what you wrote and it made me doubtful about my decision not to press charges.
First things first: thank you for all your kind words but I’m so not deserving of all your praises. (Note to therapist; can’t for the life of me take a compliment!)
I believe everyone here’s been through hell. We are in an impossible situation and, nevertheless, we have to go on and our sz loved ones depend on us on pretty much everything.
I’m very glad to have found this forum because it’s a safe space for me to talk about things most people could never understand or relate to.
These are the cards I have been dealt and they could always have been worse.
I too share your strong beliefs and convictions against prison as any kind of treatment, as you have said so well. Not so long ago a Justice of our Supreme Court compared the prison system in my country to overcrowded medieval dungeons. And he is not wrong.
Of course my uncle’s in need of serious treatment but I have my hands full. I have to prioritize: I have my grandma who’s in her nineties (and I’m afraid not that well) who I love so much and my mother who suffers from sz. I also cared for my grandfather for ten years (alzheimers and Parkinson’s, though I had 24/7 home care to help me out in his case; but it’s so hard to witness the person you love the most die like that), and my uncle Joe (sz as well).
No one in our family is willing to be my youngest uncle’s (the violent one, the con man, the vile one) guardian.
So if I press charges he’s left with two options prison or State mental asylum. He’ll be sentenced to one, two years at the most and after that he’ll come after me.
We do have restraining orders here. But they don’t work. It’s not like the police will come if I report he’s violated some restraining order.
Obviously that if he comes after my grandmother or my mother I’ll not only call the police on him but every witness I can get.
I’ll probably get a bigger dog to feel safer.
You’re the resilient one. You cannot choose your family. You could have walked away. Yet you stayed for ten years.
That shows moral integrity and resilience. I was born into it. You chose to stay out of compassion.
I don’t condone violence of any kind. Perhaps that’s why I don’t feel any obligation towards him. And let’s be honest why do I have to care after everyone who’s ill in my family? I don’t regret missing out on things because I had to be their guardian. Shit happens. But not him, not someone who’s abusive, I don’t feel safe with him living in my street, let alone under my roof. I’ve had my share.
Thank you so much. You have no idea how much what you’ve written touched me.
Be safe. Be brave.
I’m here if you ever need me.
Best wishes,
Jo

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This really is a good idea.

We got a second dog when our son lived next door. When I gardened I would always have the new dog outside with me. My son knew the large dog we already had from puppyhood and he had no fear of it. The new dog was an older Labrador that a rescue had saved from an impound, a really big dog, just over 100 pounds. The rescue was glad to find an indoor home for him.

I did feel a bit sad as I could see my son was afraid of the new dog. We slept so much better at night that it was the right decision. The two of them never did have any sort of unpleasant encounter.

One of my friend’s was saved by her dog when her daughter was choking her. The daughter had threatened to kill her many times and finally tried. The dog attacked their daughter and my friend was able to get away.

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Press charges, he needs to be hospitalized and on meds. The psych doctor took my son
to court because he refused his meds and won. They don’t think their sick, so you have to protect yourself and don’t be afraid… Been through many sad, rough times with my son. But once on meds they act more normal. Good luck.

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Thank you so much. I have a frenchie (that I adopted after I was assaulted). A adore him but to be honest he’s not much of a guardian dog.
Last time I had to have my uncle in my house I borrowed a friend’s American Bully for the day. I’m my grandmother’s caregiver and he has the legal right to visit his mother.
I felt a lot safer. He was verbally abusive (but that I can take) but wouldn’t dare to come near me with the dog by my side.
Hope your son is doing better.
Stay strong.

If I was in your situation, that would be the breed I would choose. They are dependable dogs, easy to train and dedicated to their people.

Thanks for asking, son is doing as well as can be expected without meds and sometimes much better than could be expected. Sadly, his paranoia and delusions regarding his dad have remained firm. You stay strong too:)

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