Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Would he let himself wither away if i left

My husband is SZ. If my husband is going through an “episode” unfortunately my son can see it now that he is 8 yrs old. The episodes don’t get extremely bad for now but twice his actions have scared my son. The second incident happened this weekend. When I returned home with my son from dropping his friend off, my husband had locked the screen itself and the door. He heard us knocking and opened the door to say he is not letting us in and shut the door back. My son starting getting frantic and I tried to consule him reminding him i had my car, wallet, etc. I could do what i need to do but not before trying to get inside again. I went around back and as i finally got that door unlocked my husband noticed and slammed it back. I unlocked it again with a key and screamed to him that he is scaring my son. My husband then let us in. He demands that “pack my stuff and leave”. I tell him no that he can go live with his mom which he won’t do. His mom lives 3 hrs away and they don’t get alone. And, he won’t leave because he says that is HIS house, not mine. It is both of our house by the way.

this had my son sick to his stomach. It scared him. My question is, i have options here but not sure which to do:

  1. leave but will he wither away if i leave him to be by himself. He wants me to leave but don’t understand that if i leave he has not utilities or entertainment nor food.
  2. find him help, but how?
  3. Just live with the situation, but will it get worse? I don’t feel it is fair to my son either.

For my son’s sake, i feel i should leave. But I am concerned he won’t take care of himself. And sadly, he would be perfectly fine living in a hot house with no food. But That is not good for any human. Plus, i don’t want to leave him when he is at his lowest times. That is selfish of me right?

So question, what do you think my husband would do if i left. I feel like he would stay there in the extreme conditions and get sicker. Also, if i stay how can i bring this up to him that he is showing my son this sad episode? I forgot to mention, my husband is in denial that there is even a problem. He has not seen a doctor and will not get out of the house to see a doctor or anyone. And, the reason i know he has paranoid SZ is i wrote a note to his doctor which in turn called me to tell me what he knew it was. I wrote him all things weird my husband did or said.

Try involuntarily admitting him. Sometimes you have to stretch it a bit, but you know him best and if your gut is telling you this is what he would do, he is in danger.

As this is a chronic life long illness you might do well to get therapy for your son so he can learn coping skills.

I know many would say leave for the sake of your son. I work with a woman who was raised by a father who was sz. Her childhood was different than most and she acknowledges that but loved him dearly. She learned to live with the good and the bad and was fiercely protective of him until the day he died. .


Your husband will be ok. He’s an adult, and will figure out sooner or later how to feed himself, or get help.
You should leave with your son. It’s not fair to him to feel scared and insecure. Do you have a place to go? At least temporarily?
Once you and your son are settled someplace safe, you can try to help hubby somehow.


I know how hard it is to be loyal to someone who will not get treated, but if you feel you should leave, I agree. I absolutely cannot imagine what life would be like for a child with a parent with sz, but my gut feeling is that the child deserves your help more than your husband does, as he is dependent on you totally for his life and his ability to have a good future is your responsibility alone, since your husband is ill. Your husband is actually responsible for his own life, and for his own illness. He will be OK, or not, on his own, however, your child may be damaged irreparably if he is raised in a psychotic environment.

If you can force your husband to get treatment, I believe I would change my mind, as with my daughter forced onto treatment, our lives are now totally changed for the better compared to the years of her being unmedicated.


Yes, I agree my son loves his dad very much. And MOST days (for weeks or months at a time) my husband can be doing pretty good. He plays around with my son in the house and seems to be in good spirits. What my son don’t see thank goodness is the speciousness of me that my husband has. If i say or do the wrong thing, it will put my husband into suspicious. This doesn’t bother me anymore. I just walk away to another room. An hr or two later my husband don’t even remember it happened. If i mention to him what he says to me he will deny it 100%.

Because it doesn’t happen very often i tend to forget how this affects my son sometimes.

MOST days (for weeks or months at a time) my husband can be doing pretty good. He plays around with my son in the house and seems to be in good spirits. What my son don’t see thank goodness is the speciousness of me that my husband has. If i say or do the wrong thing, it will put my husband into suspicious. This doesn’t bother me anymore. I just walk away to another room. An hr or two later my husband don’t even remember it happened. If i mention to him what he says to me he will deny it 100%.

I agree with everything you said. I wish i knew how to force him to get treatment. If I get him taken in involuntarily, he will only stay a week. And to be honest, that will END our relationship because he already thinks I am the bad guy here. I am the evil person who causes all harm to him. He thinks I am the one who made him have an accident which caused a head injury which brought about the SZ. He thinks I paid someone.

How do I get him admitted involuntarily and still have him come back home afterwards and not be even more suspicious of me than he already is? I actually don’t think he would allow me to stay in the home with him - not that he can make me leave though.

I noticed you said he would think he is fine with no food and a hot house. Isn’t that always the truth! My husband with sz won’t take his meds anymore, is psychotic and withdrawn, won’t leave the house, but he’s happy as a clam. Ignores his wife but he’s just fine. Ass.

Hi Sage,

My husband is homeless, recently returned to where I am living, and he came to my work today to ask for money because he said he was hungry. But guess what happened? He spent the money on a pack of cigarettes and an energy drink! Then he told me on the phone after work that at the State Hospital they would encourage the “clients,” as they called them, to have coffee, breakfast and a cigarette then start their day. He picked up smoking at what was supposed to be a hospital and now can’t lose the habit. He says he can live without food but he needs his cigarettes.

Yes, it is frustrating. But please realize this is an illness of the brain and although it might seem your husband is deliberately being cruel and ignores you, it is not your fault and the illness is very strong. Don’t take it personally. Although I have only started reading your posts today, I sense you are probably a conscientious person who cares very much about your husband. We are sensitive and need to protect that sensitivity because it makes us who we are, and who we are…are good people. Don’t lose yourself because of your husband.

Hello all
I read alot of your posts, I do not have any day to day experience. I have great compassion for all of you. Sometimes I want to join in, even though I have no experience. Just wanted you to know I’m still here. AnnieNorCal


I had the same question about my son several times… can her survive without our help. He just turned 29 and does not recognize that he has a MI, except maybe in retrospect, in a disconnected way. But surprisingly he survives. I just can’t wrap my head around it …how can he be so ill and survive on the streets. Your husband most likely would too (especially in a house), but it is your call and having a small child makes it a delicate decision. I have five children and am still raising two at home. My seventeen year old son has been through so much with his brother and his many episodes. But he is quite tolerant and caring in his own way, willing to sacrifice a peaceful home environment to have his brother here off the streets. My daughter who is thirteen, quietly just wants him gone, she’s not a big talker but I know it affects her differently because she isn’t as good at communicating her feelings. My suggestion is to be clear about how far you are willing to go with your husband and his episodes, everyone is different. Some things are just too much for young children to handle emotionally. You know your son best.

I feel like there are a few things that you can do about this problem.

I think the first would be to start to reconfigure the space in the house. Maybe your husband needs a safe and quiet space to himself where he can go when the social atmosphere can be too overwhelming.

It is like you need him to be aware that he is getting stressed out when you and your son get home, so he needs to keep the entry way clear and go to his safe space.

Some other things you could do to help him while living with him could be to:
-get him a journal to get him to write down his fears, anxieties, etc
-take him to meet different doctors to find one he likes
-research different types of treatments and medications with him so he feels like he is
having some control over his treatment
-Find a support group that he can go to or help him to go online and talk to others with the illness
-at home, try to find out what activities are most soothing for him, e.g. does he have a hobby like listening to a type of music that helps him to calm down?

**I guess all of these suggestions are easier said than done. In my experience, my boyfriend with schizophrenia is very stubborn so it is hard to get him to do anything, but I think what I do know is progress is slow so you have to watch for subtle signs and try different things but give things enough time to work. **

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Yes, my husband thinks if i never bought him anything, if i left him, if I didn’t buy food, if I didn’t pay utilities he would be FINE. He tells me to leave sometimes and when i say i can’t or you will live homeless, he says “im good”.

It is easy to decide to stay on days when he is doing fine. Those days he has an episode do remind me each time that I don’t want to be in this. However, I did marry him for better or worse so there is a guilt there. I wouldn’t want to leave during his worse times. I don’t want to leave at all. But then i get to being (i don’t know --selfish or what) i think of how unfair it is for me to NEVER feel loved again and of course it is not fair to my child. The episodes don’t happen much. He does get delusional for a moment and i don’t address the delusion and he pops out of it quickly. Those moments my son don’t notice.

Thank you for this. Because they episodes don’t happen often I have been willing to stay. More so, delusions do happen but quickly go away because i don’t address those so he lefts them go. My son don’t notice those.

Thanks for the advice and reading my post!

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The only issue is he won’t get out of the house. He is absolutely against going to the doctor or taking medicine as the doctor just prescribes medicines for no reason or could be on my side and medicines are only given to him to make him forget things. The journal is a good idea though and his own space too. He already puts his headphones on all the time and closes his eyes to get away into his own world. He does not think there is any issue here and the only reason i know he has paranoid sz is i wrote his doctor all the weird things he was doing and the doctor called me with a diagnosis. My husband will never admit he has issues. to him, he is normal and i am out to get him. Everyone is out to get him. He will admit he had a work accident which causes dizziness, headaches etc. That is about it.

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Another thing as well is for some with schizophrenia having a conversation can be very hard. I did not keep the article, but one article I read was saying that those with schizophrenia who experience disorganized thoughts can sometimes be having a really good conversation and then at times sabotage the conversation, and then kind of forget they did that. I have had this with my boyfriend, sometimes we have miscommunications and then we have a makeup conversation, sometimes towards the end, he will say something that would make me think he is still mad, but he is not, just tired or wanting to get off the phone.

In terms of living space, though I know many couples do live together and have done so successfully for a number of years, but I almost think a duplex or a house with separate entrances could almost be ideal.

One documentary years ago about parents whose children had childhood schizophrenia, the parents marriage suffered from the stress and they lived separately. Sometimes people have to live separately. But it is very hard to not wake up with the one you love at home.

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Yes, my husband does sabotage conversations but in a different way. Ours goes like–we can be talking about a topic on the news and I will say things but he twists it or takes it as I am a bad person and starts saying things making me know he is suspicious of me. I just walk away from the conversation so he don’t get deeper into his suspicion. He stops then.

I am not sure about living separately. I am afraid if i live separately I minus well just leave. the whole point of living together and not leaving is for my son to have a father and me to help my husband. I am not sure i could live separately.

My ex was like this , they make you feel like
I’m good rather you’re here or not! You give your life to make sure their ok and in the end they can care less about you or themselves. Leaving him is ultimatum your choice , but please talk with your son and let him know daddy is sick ! You should not be getting locked out the house period ! He should leave !

One question I have about having a spouse with schizophrenia is how do you get to the point with the person that you can live together. In my case, my boyfriend has told me about the diagnosis 3 years ago, and it has been difficult to progress the relationship to the point of living together.