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I'd like to hear the experiences of any CBers who are the children of schizophrenics or those with schizotypal personality disorder.

Recently I was reading about these MIs and recognized many symptoms, traits, habits and behaviors of my mother. I always knew she was afflicted with something. Definitely OCD of the hoarding variety...but there was more to her with which I couldn't relate. She was adamantly suspicious of psychologists and psychiatrists and never saw one. Thus, she was never officially dx'ed.

My childhood was totally chaotic and scary. I often couldn't follow what my mom was talking about, she would talk to herself when we were walking on the street, and she had a lot of other embarrassing behaviors that caused me to feel deep shame when I was with her.

I'm amazed that I'm as together as I am given how disfunctional my mother is...sure, I have some issues but generally they are in control with meds and my life goes on.

Can anyone else here relate? What's your story?

--Weasel

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Neither one of my parents had any kind of psychiatric disorder, I still wound up with paranoid schizophrenia.  I'm sorry your mom was so dysfunctional when you were growing up.  I want to have kids someday, but I will definitely wait until I've been stable for awhile.  I know I've done things that have embarassed other people, especially when I'm reacting to my delusions or hallucinations.

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Well it really depends which version of the truth you choose to believe about my family.

Both my parents have or had something wrong. Dad was officially dx'd paranoid personality type by a Tdoc but never saw a Pdoc. Mum has something wrong:she thinks she's psychic and speaks to spirits, she also shows slgns of either negative symptoms or something similar.

Anyway its all speculative. no official dx's. But yeah something on both sides. And abig history of old school asylums on Dad's side.

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Well it really depends which version of the truth you choose to believe about my family.

Both my parents have or had something wrong. Dad was officially dx'd paranoid personality type by a Tdoc but never saw a Pdoc. Mum has something wrong:she thinks she's psychic and speaks to spirits, she also shows slgns of either negative symptoms or something similar.

Anyway its all speculative. no official dx's. But yeah something on both sides. And abig history of old school asylums on Dad's side.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

your mother sounds like she might have schizotyal personality disorder. people argue about whether this diagnosis is a mild verm of schizophrenia (schizophrenics and schizotypals both, for instance, make loose word associations and have similar difficulties in smooth eye movement.) schizotypal people usually have so-called "magical" thinking (ie, thinking that one is psychic....many have referntial thinking (ie, believing that a television program is directed toward them specifically)...most have negative symptoms similar to shcizophrenics although usually milder (like flat affect or hebephrenia)...basically sort of odd and eccentric but not pathological at a clinical level, really.

obviously i am totally not a diagnostician (although i am studying to be one...) but what you were saying just caught my eye. good luck to you. oh and as far as familial connections go, i have bipolar, not schizophrenia, and my dad's mom killed herself (not diagnosed bp but porbably was) and my mother's brother is diagnosed bp. i realize this doesn't have anything to do with schizophrenia, so i am sort of running my mouth. xx

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I'm the grand-niece of a schizophrenic. I never saw her, this was before my time here, but my mother told me how they would visit her, and she had her entire house (windows, electrical outlets, etc) covered with aluminum foil to keep the aliens away. She also wore an aluminum hat. I know this may sound like a joke, but it's not. It really was like that. I never honestly thought to ask whatever happened to her. I'll ask.

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Since there is suc a strong genetic component in this illness, I wonder how many peope with it have relatives with it...but these relatives have never been dignosed. Or they were diagnonsed but never got treatment...or their episodes where passed off as something else.

Talkng about mental illness is just something that wasn't done 30 years ago, or 5 years ago for that matter.

My hubby is bp, and despite no official diagnosis, I KNOW there is something wrong with his parents! (Hee hee hee)

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Thanks maybetinymaybesad. It is hard to know exactly how severe my mother's symptoms are as she has never confided these. I'm relating my long and close observation of her behaviors and her reactions to external stimuli.

Once she did tell me she thought she saw a dish of oblong pills as bugs. I didn't think it was that odd at the time because I was a kid and could see how, in one's imagination, they sort of looked like a swarm of bugs. What I remember very clearly from that episode was the intensity of her reaction. She was really startled and repulsed by what she saw. It was more than just making up silly stories with your kid.

Thanks also, Rabbit and wifezilla. It's so true that talking about MI was taboo for my mom's generation (she's 75 now). I wish I knew more of her relatives also to learn if there was a familial pattern. Unfortunately her parents died before I was born and she is estranged from her other relatives. I only met her brother when I was 20 and was feeling a strong need for family who were somewhat functional. He was pretty tight lipped.

What I'm hoping to hear about from others who have schizophrenic parents is how that affected them growing up, especially if you show no symptoms of that particular MI. I used to be quite worried that I would become "mad" like my mother, but in the past 35 years it hasn't happened, so I'm not too worried about the higher genetic risk. The emotional fallout from being dependent on someone so dysfunctional is what I deal with and would be interested if others have had a similar experience.

--Weasel

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Thanks maybetinymaybesad. It is hard to know exactly how severe my mother's symptoms are as she has never confided these. I'm relating my long and close observation of her behaviors and her reactions to external stimuli.

Once she did tell me she thought she saw a dish of oblong pills as bugs. I didn't think it was that odd at the time because I was a kid and could see how, in one's imagination, they sort of looked like a swarm of bugs. What I remember very clearly from that episode was the intensity of her reaction. She was really startled and repulsed by what she saw. It was more than just making up silly stories with your kid.

Thanks also, Rabbit and wifezilla. It's so true that talking about MI was taboo for my mom's generation (she's 75 now). I wish I knew more of her relatives also to learn if there was a familial pattern. Unfortunately her parents died before I was born and she is estranged from her other relatives. I only met her brother when I was 20 and was feeling a strong need for family who were somewhat functional. He was pretty tight lipped.

What I'm hoping to hear about from others who have schizophrenic parents is how that affected them growing up, especially if you show no symptoms of that particular MI. I used to be quite worried that I would become "mad" like my mother, but in the past 35 years it hasn't happened, so I'm not too worried about the higher genetic risk. The emotional fallout from being dependent on someone so dysfunctional is what I deal with and would be interested if others have had a similar experience.

--Weasel

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

i was actually referring to dan and his description of his mother. i am sorry if i was unclear. i am not sure about your mother. her symptoms do sound severe. it is always really difficult to grow up with mentally ill parents between the shame and embarassment you allude to as well as not always having your needs met. it takes a strong person to make it through.

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oh! thanks maybetinymaybesad. I didn't even notice who you had quoted in your response. Yeah, I don't think my mom experiences too much magical thinking. But I could be wrong. She was once spooked by a dream where her deceased mother beckoned her to join her. She also didn't come to my wedding because it was the same date as when her mother died 33 years prior. (No, she didn't tell me in advance so I could reschedule...she just avoided dealing until the last minute.) But, who knows?

--Weasel

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Well, in looking something up about schizophrenia for another CBer, I found the most amazing bulletin board of offspring of schizophrenics. http://66.160.133.190/%7Eoffspring

I can't even begin to explain how validating the stories are...and heartbreaking.

Until this afternoon I was convinced that I was the only person in the world who could possibly be the child of a schizophrenic. (How egocentric is that?!)

It's just the same story over and over. Most often a mother who just slips away into the illness, who changes dramatically from a functioning person to anything but. Some of these mothers were very mean. I'm lucky mine wasn't. She was cloying when she wanted to show affection and indifferent the rest of the time. Occasionally she would rage and come after me with a coat hanger, but not very often. She was damn neglectful, but I've kind of forgiven her for that.

It's always been a mystery to me why my father didn't do something, anything. After reading other's stories I understand now. Schizophrenia is a terrible mental illness and the sufferer's insight is usually nil. And my dad is incredibly passive. Maybe even schizoid, although he's pretty friendly...just more detached from things than some people.

Well, anyway I ramble. I just feel so much clarity right now I want to scream. I can't believe I never connected my mom's bizarre behavior with schizophrenia until three weeks ago. Really. I've even seen A Beautiful Mind, Igby goes Down, Donnie Darko, Cuckoo's Nest, piles of movies with this illness as a theme. I guess that's what happens when you grow up in an incredibly invalidating environment. You just don't see some things as they are. If only my mom had been hospitalized on occasion--I'd like to think it would have helped her and I would have understood more...could have done more...could have dealt with it better. But, on the other hand, she was spared the mental institutions of the 70's and has lived her eccentric life as she wishes.

Anyways for those who are in similar situations, or who just want to know more about what it is like, in May, 2006 PBS is going to air a recent documentary called Out of the Shadow by a filmmaker daughter of a schizophrenic. http://www.outoftheshadow.com

--Weasel

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  • 5 months later...

What I'm hoping to hear about from others who have schizophrenic parents is how that affected them growing up, especially if you show no symptoms of that particular MI. I used to be quite worried that I would become "mad" like my mother, but in the past 35 years it hasn't happened, so I'm not too worried about the higher genetic risk. The emotional fallout from being dependent on someone so dysfunctional is what I deal with and would be interested if others have had a similar experience.

--Weasel

my mom currently has the diagnosis of schizophrenic, although she is also dissociative. my father would never see anyone, but he acts like a proper sociopath. my brother is schizophrenic. he refuses to see any more doctors "because with my diagnosis they'll lock me up forever".

i grew up with a lot of abuse from all three of them, and they weave reality from dreams now and i'm supposed to be able to keep up and remember what stories are true and what they have dreamed away when i visit them.

but what was it like? very odd.

the father was very good at setting rules and boundaries and teaching correct consequences of wrong action. and any abuse was very carefully thought through and planned out and perfectly executed. so from him, i got a lot of consistency. i was never confused about what was punishment and what was not. the only confusion was that he set it up so well, that what wasn't punishment i clearly chose for myself in some way. punishment was only when i broke a rule, and i always knew what rule was broken, and we could discuss it. abuse was it's own special category of mind fuck. he liked playing with people (well, no past tense, he still likes it) and creating situations so one is forced to inititiate the abuse oneself. he has no conscience at all. in fact, i definitely get that from him. on the other hand, he is totally honest with me if we are alone. he's admitted full out he's done stuff to me but if others are around, of course, i'm psycho and lying.

the mother was extraordinarily neglectful. i was taught childcare from her for my little sister, so i am assuming she raised us all this way: when a baby cries, shove it in a drawer or somewhere you don't have to hear it. if you still hear it smack it around til it shuts up, if that doesn't work, give the thing some alcohol with the milk and make it pass out. when a baby makes a mess in its diaper, it's doing it to punish you so punish it back. rinse out the diaper and put it back on. she would usually just pass out drunk part way through the day and we were safe from her until she woke up a few hours later.

she hears voices and has violent mood swings and has gone through the whole spectrum of diagnosises from BP to dissociative NOS to schizophrenic and back again. she's on tons of meds now and is doing a lot better. that is, she is in charge of her grandson's care during the day and i actually have no fear over her hurting him. at worse, she would fall asleep because now she's narcoleptic (i think it's the meds), but there is nothing she would actually do TO him at this point. the meds have helped and fifteen years of therapy have helped. probably, not living with the father has helped. they divorced fifteen years ago.

both the parents left us alone for overnight (several times for a week straight) from the time i was four (my first memories of this include my sister being very very small, and we're only three years apart). my brother was three years older than me, but he was never included in anything, really. i was the "oldest" according to my dad.

my brother tried to imitate both my parents at once, which doesn't work because the father is methodical and the mother is anti-methodical. but he was very abusive to me. he protected the little sister. so did i. she turned out pretty good, i think.

well, i am high functioning autistic and DID (which has caused some doctors to argue it's schizophrenia since i hear voices and live in another world, but i don't find that an accurate dx at all). my brother, as i said, is very definitely schizophrenic. he told me once he had the dx, but now he pretends he's fine, but it's pretty obvious that he's loony as hell. my sister is a tiny bit dissociative. her only real problem is that she tries to pretend her past is all rosy and that's affecting her because she can't explain away all of her reactions to growing up the way she did. lol. but she's the sanest of us all.

the emotional fallout? well, i'm DID lol. it took me over ten years of therapy to be able to function at all and i am now holding down the first job i've ever held for this long. i've been working since february. so i would say i wasn't very functional at all. hell, i still wish i was on disability, but i got kicked off. each year i have fewer time of completely losing it and freaking out at anniversary dates of certain events. i'm quite convinced that eventually i'll have a year where i don't even notice any of the anniversary dates have passed by because i'll be calm about it. i can't wait!

but it's been really hard. i only avoided lockup by tellign my father if he let them lock me up, i was gonna rat on him. so he pulled strings and i've never once seen the inside of the psych ward. it's still taking me a lot of work to keep my violent tendencies in check. it makes great sense to me to attack anyone who upsets me or might one day threaten me. i always have to watch that. and i am more ocd as time goes on because making sure my outside world is just so is very comforting. the strange thing is that that only developed after i was diagnosed with DID and had been in therapy about five years. i decided that organisation was the only way to get by with so many people in my head, and that is certainly true. so i started organising and keeping things really neat all the time, and things are easier to cope with.

growing up with a bunch of crazy people who enjoy being crazy and hurting people really sucked. i guess that sums it up ;) lol.

abifae

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my nephews father is schizophrenic. well his father, grandma(fathers mom), and(fathers sisters) two aunts are schizophrenic. Our side is bp. The fathers side were in and out of institutions often. He's only 13 but I watch carefully to see if he begins to present anything. My sister (who I have a love/hate relationship with) exposed him to way too many hardships too early in life and even now I guess so he's hanging in there but he has a vile temper (actually our whole family both sides do) and Im praying he'll stay stable until he graduates. His brother didn't and is now in continuation school which he may not finish. His father always heard voices that directed negative things, talked endlessly about politics, and commanded him to do very bad stuff. So in protecting my nephews we had a confrontation that didn't end well for him. He was sent back to the institution but he's out now again and searching for my sister. so far he hasn't found them. scary.For them and for me. I worry that in protecting my nephews I may end up in jail. I can't do enclosed spaces well.

lilie

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My father is schizophrenic. He's managed his illness semi-well for the past year or so, but he spent much of the previous five years living in a complete wreck of a life. He's ripped my life apart on several occasions. Right now we're trying to build a working relationship. Considering he just insulted me yesterday, I'm really not sure how well we're doing on that one. It's a work in progress I suppose.

Anyway, I've seen the illness take away his ability to work, destroy his marriage and alienate him from his family and friends. He's had to completely rebuild his life more times than I can count. And I'll never be able to talk to him about my own issues with MI. We just don't relate on such a deep, personal level. Most of the time I feel like he's my father in name only. Sad, but true.

Sending strength to those of you currently dealing with the illness, in whatever capacity.

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My mother is a schizophrenic. If it is one thing I learned about a schizophrenic's language is that it is sometimes irrational, sometimes symbolic (like poetry) and sometimes their talking about a subject that currently is happening.

I'd like to think that most of what my mother is saying isn't irrational, but it sometimes happens.

One time I listened to my mother speak in the "schizophrenic language" for about two hours. I finally figured out that she was continuously making an excuse for something that happened a long time ago. Like the time that she forgot to pick me up from school or something. For example, she said, "I never knew you were so impatient." (This is just an example). This phrase sounded really insane because it came out of the clear blue sky and she wouldn't disclose the actual subject that she was talking about. And then she would react to her own guilt of saying something so irrational like, "I forgot to clean my laundry." So you see why none of it made any sense without realizing how much guilt she felt for something that happened so long ago. It's funny how strange things sound when you discuss your past without telling the person that you are discussing your past. I sometimes catch myself doing it.

Other times she uses words that were defined in her head by a delusion. This is what happens when a schizophrenic creates their own definitions for commonly used words -- alot like a poet. It's not crazy, it's actually rather creative. Like sometimes she screams, "FRAAAMED!!! It is a very ambiguous statement, and without further explanation can be like "chasing the dragon" to define. At first I thought that she felt as if she was framed by her own shadow or something. Like a disease bug implanting things into a person's unconscious or words. Like something she said earlier changed a statement she made into something that "screwed her over". But, after she told me that everyone living in the apartment building were all liars, I was confused. She never actually tells me why they are all liars. Sometimes I think it's becuase we all act courteous because it's moral and that her delusions redefined plastic smiles as a pessemistic thing. But now I think that I have no idea what is going inside her head. All in all, I'm probably imagining everything I think is going on inside my mother's head, but you never know.

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  • 1 year later...

My uncle is schizophrenic among other things (my psychologist is very much interested in my family's rich MI history). My father tells me how much I remind him of how his brother is sans the Schizophrenia part, but there's a chance that could be changing, unfortunately.

As for my relationship with my uncle, it's kind of hit and miss. He thinks of me as his favorite nephew, and he always brings up the intelligent things that I did when I was younger, but then he goes off on random topics, logical and illogical, and he goes from talking to me to talking to someone behind me, or perhaps, to someone in his head. I, being the emotional mimic, would empathize with him, peppering it with things like "Is that really true?", "That's interesting!", and "I will definitely think about that!"

The earliest memory I have of him was when I was four or so, and I now know that he was living between family members' homes. I caught him looting my parents' jewelry box in their room and he spotted me. He told me not to tell on him because the people telling him to loot my parents' stuff said it was ok and they wanted him to do it, but alas, I told on him anyway. Among the looted items were my parents' wedding bands, so he wasn't in our house for much longer.

Oh, he once he gave me 1000 of some Asian currency and told me to trade it in for $1000 dollars as soon as possible-I was disappointed later to discover that 1000 that Asian currency was only worth a few pennies over here. More importantly though, if my uncle has never been outside of the United States, how the hell did he get that (I'm guessing that it may have been drug money)?

He annoyed me, and sometimes disturbed me, but he never threatened me now that I think about it-However, I do know now that he tried to kill his wife on more than a few occasions, and their children were probably in the midst of it all. It seems too many families related to my own have had to deal with some kind of mental issues, or abuse stemming from it.

Obviously, there are some serious unnamed things going on with my parents as well, but my uncle is the only schizophrenic in my family that I know of. If I make it past 26 or so without some schizospectrum diagnosis though, I might be in the clear too I think, though my psychologist says that I may already have sociopathic personality traits.

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This thread started a long time ago and I do not know if anyone is still reading it. I thought it may be just as important to write here than anything else, even if no one ever reads it.

My father is BP1 and my mothers official dx was paranoid schizophrenia. They were both hospitalized at times in my childhood. My father also is alcoholic and liked to smash and break things that would usually land him in the psyche unit. My mom just tried to jump out of moving cars, has bitter distrust of doctors and stil to this day makes weird connections like "I have a headche because I am wearing blue, or because I left an article of clothing at her house, is why she has one. OMG i could write forever about this. She is definitely OCD and hoards garbage that could easily be thrown away. She was really mean as well, as perhaps that is one of the reasons I fixate on her because she liked to slap and punch me, and was extremely verbally abusive.

My dad was terribley violent, liked to gamble, and put his hands on little girls where he was not supposed to. That would be me.

My brother is schizophrenic, and beleives he is God. He is on disability and lives in a group home. He is curently med compliant and the structure of his home helps him.

I am the only other one of eight siblings Dx with BP1, but strongly suspect I am schizotypal or affective, because I connect here moreo than I do on the bIpolar board. My bros and sisiters sometimes make cracks about meds, but I do not care, I am just grateful that i have recieved treatment and therapy enough so that I can functioon normally. They think that Ia m smart so that means not mentally ill.

I could write all day here about this one, but thanks for asking the question, I want to watch the movie.

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My mother and her mother are both schizotypal. Guess that's where I inherited it from.

My mother still talks about having visions and God - in the Spiritualist way. She talks all the time and although she is very intelligent links facts to fiction in the most bizzare way. Being an only child and being told I was wrong and her thoughts and beliefs were right, left a permanent mental/emotional scar.

She's still like it today.

My grandfather - maternal - was a cross-dresser and had a vicious temper though he and I got on really well until we immigrated and I never really connected with him again.

My father had sexuality issues - he had difficulty accepting he was gay - was abused as a child. He has panic attacks and bouts of depression.

There are loads of stories on both sides of the family as to how much is dysfunction and how much is MI - who knows?

Hawk

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