Separating diagnosis from behaviour

I’m a carer (7 years) for my brother.

We are both in our early 30s and he has a diagnosis of schizophrenia which is is very reluctant to accept or take proper care of himself to prevent/alleviate symptoms.

I find this very hard to accept and can’t resist popping in with support in the form of food parcels, offers of company, ideas to keep busy etc in a kind hearted attempt to help him find a focus other than not taking his medication and spiralling further.

My problem at the moment is his behaviour towards me is becoming abusive. He raises his voice often, sends several long nasty texts criticising me and why I don’t help him (go along with his delusions) and I am struggling to separate this disrespectful hurtful behaviour from his diagnosis. If it is a result of his schizophrenia I’d feel sympathy and compassion more but I find it very hard to tolerate emotionally and yet even harder to walk away from him and set boundaries.

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Bit of a Hail Mary throw I realise

But Power or Now, Eckhart Tolle is worth a look

Leave a copy hanging around

(Sounds condescending I know)

Ignore if you want. No offence


Ccjall, welcome.
We care for our adult daughter with schizophrenia.
The pressure of the voices on her lead her to feel highly conflicted and abused.
She is changeable and aggressive at times.
Like your brother she is v vulnerable.
Do you have a number you can call - we are in Devon and call First Reponse advice for carers of and people experiencing a mental health crises. Your GP or your brothers care team, I hope he has one - the adult mental health service for your area can support you.
Your kindness will be vital but he may be to confused by voices to understand.
Sometimes we ask for medication review and alert care team that hospitalisation might be needed or supported living.
I try to redirect the subject of conversation away from what is irritating or upsetting daughter.
We also have to give her space to calm down.
I feel for you and your brother,
I hope he is avoiding non prescription drugs and alcohol these stop medications working.
Keep safe and call ambulance or police if you feel you or your brother are unsafe.
Thank you for being loving in these difficult circumstances these folks with schizophrenia need people like you.
Warmly Ula
I post on the roll call thread you are welcome to join in.

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Hi @Ccjall - I don’t really have any suggestions to make, but what you’re describing sounds typical of some people with a mental health condition. They can often see the problem as being with other people rather than their own health, and abusive behaviour is not unusual. Their illness changes their perspective to such an extent that they can feel that only they see what is happening with total clarity. The issue you’re having with trying to separate diagnosis and behaviour is quite common: you’re probably more used to seeing your brother - or remembering him - as someone more rational, but as his condition has deteriorated, you’re seeing more of his illness. Dementia carers can often have the same issue, and again trying to separate diagnosis from behaviour is a natural reaction…but.

In both mental illness and dementia, the illness drives changes in the person’s character and behaviours, and it’s an impossible task to separate them. It’s best to accept that the nastiness and odd behaviours are driven by the illness, because 1. It’s the reality of the situation, and 2. It helps when trying to cope with it all.