I've been in a committed relationship with a schizophrenic man for almost a decade. The first four years of my relationship was an emotional rollercoaster, with the textbook amount of problems one can expect being with a mentally ill person. Paranoia, pushed boundaries, delutions, obsessions, hallucinations, anti social behavior, lots of unemployment. And 3 years ago he had a major dramatic melt down and he then volentarily checked into a mental hospital. For the first 2 years he was in treatment and finished with an out patient group counciling program. The last 3 years total that he has be diagnosed, he is like a new person. So much better to be with.
Over all now, he has mild bouts of occational jealously/obsession of me dealing with males, thinking I'm having fun without him, he stopped talking to me twice, for 1 month each (with only spotty contact) last summer (he demanded that I keep in constant contact with him and I was very ill with excrutiating headaches and back pain at the time and I told him off) and this summer (he thought I was being too demanding for asking him why he didn't give me a card on my b-day!, Which he has never missed a special day in 7 years!)We've been in constant contact for 7 years straight and after this last incident we still havn't got our communication back up 100%, its spotty at best, now I'm the one who has to reach out to him and for 7 years prior he'd always been the one initiating everything. It feels so weird.
So I fear this shift in communication means doom for the relationship and I still havn't be able to fully express my hurt feelings to my bf over the last issue because I fear he'll start having one of his stressed out mental episodes that triggers his inappropriate behaviors (listed about) I've always wanted to be able to just tel him how I feel when he does these things that are inappropriate (ill or not, I feel he needs to know his actions are having a negative impact on me, he thinks he is being totally normal when he does an inappropriate behavior). I don't know if he can distinguish between ill and normal behavior in himself very often, especially if its just jealously or obsessing. If it was a suicidal thought Im sure he'd know that was ill. His inappropriate behaviors all have a constant theme over the years tho.
How do I piece together his true nature? I'm still getting to know a peaceful version of him. What I gather so far is that he's always been a dreamer, layed back, non ambitious, non competitive, not driven, soft spoken, feels threatened by the presence of other men, romantic, sweet, he's charming, loves nature and the simple things in life, a bit jealous too, loving, affectionate, encouraging and helps me relax, tremendous support system for me.
It's important to note he has NEVER, EVER been violent, mean, abusive, cheated (that I know of) etc. He has a beauiful, caring, creative spirit and I love him very, very much.
With all said is it possible to have a some what normal relationship with him moving forward? We have talked about marriage and kids a lot. However, there is so much I still want to do in life and the career I want and I really don't know about having kids for a lot of reasons.
I realize that my bf will have special needs the rest of his life at some points. But he said that his doctor said people with his condition can live normal productive lives. Its easier said than done. But my bf believes the doctor I just want my bf the know the reality and hear other womens stories, because he can't understand that his illness has had a major effect on me and it will for any woman after me if things dont work out with us.
But having done research recently about relationships with ill men, the general consensus is that women have said it's hell. And it will put one's emotional and mental health at risk (this I full understand and experienced). I know its wise to heed ever bit of info.
I know full well no relationships are not perfect but there can definately be mostly healthy and rewarding ones for the most part.
What are some tried and true effective ways to communicate with a mentally ill person, without trigger episodes needlessly? I know stress is his big trigger. But everything stresses him. Is it possible to get what I want and need from him as his girlfriend?
Are there behaviors that I should just ignore and assume its ill behavior? What shouldn't I never ignore? Obviously, I know I can't ever tolerate violence, threats or cheating.
Might a particular therapy help him? What tools can his doctor give him to become a better communicator and partner?
I always want to hold him accountable for his actions but he unfortunately is really not able to do that. Again, I don't know if this is a character issues or an illness issue or both with him? I know some people are perfectly healthy that can't handle taking responsibility for their actions!
He's doing good with taking his meds and going to the doc. The doc even wants to ween him off the meds, which scares THE HELL out of me! The chance of a full on relaps for him scares my more than anything. He is doing well with a part-time job and going to school I don't want anything to disturb his progress because it could take a year or more for him to come back from that.
Any advice would be much appreciated, thank you in advance.
Please forgive the long post this is my first attempt at reaching out for help and support for myself.
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