Schizoid Mother

I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was wondering, there is the ‘cold mother’ theory from the 50ies. Looking at my mother, she has been always VERY cold - and if I read about the shiziod personality type, it reflects 90% of her personality. Unfortunately, as for most personality disorders, shiziod people never seek treatment, as they seem to think everything is fine with them. Having been raised by only my mother unfortunately does not help to the issue, my dad died when i was very young and my parents divorced when I was 2. The theory also mentions, that within shiziod personalities, schizophrenia is common in relatives. I am now wondering, is it really genetics or rather the effect of the shizoid personality’s behaviour, especially when coming to parenting behaviour? I am really starting to think the latter.

According to random statistics I’ve seen online, schizophrenia doesn’t seem to be caused from any particular environment. But then again, they’re statistics…and from the internet :laughing: They could be wrong.
My mom isn’t very cold, but she’s numbed out…like half way in the twilight zone all of the time. I’m pretty sure she lies about most things, but I wonder if she even knows that she’s lying.
My dad is the cold one though. But even more in the twilight zone. He’s never responded directly to any question(if providing a response at all). I remember I held a short conversation with him about something important once…only once that I can remember…it took me off guard and freaked me out. Later I found out that he was on a new pain med…
He’s as delusional as I am, and even more paranoid, especially about people in his family. It’s like being on survalliance all the time when someone thinks you and everyone else are all psychopaths/killers/enemies. Then my mom switches between numb and hyper-tense(thyroid issues). Add all that to my delusions and paranoia, and that’s the environment I live in right now.

When I moved to Kentucky last year, my delusions nearly all went away. I started getting out. I held a job at Pizza Hut…with PEOPLE. The psychosis that I did experience was the left over remains of my past, and slowly filtered out.

In short, I support that the theory has a lot of weight to it.

Regarding what you mention of schizophrenia environment… I think it has been statistically linked to higher prevalence living in cities vs. countryside and immigrants vs. natives. But… As you say all the theories in regards to parenting have not been verified. I think everybody has it’s own history of developing this illness, but the shizo genes can be switched off or on depending on some factors such as social life, parenting, other circumstances etc.

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I agree, though I’m not sure if the genes are switched or moreso amplified in an unsuitable environment.

The “cold mother” theory was proven wrong years ago.

My family is very kind, loving and supportive, and I still have Sz. There are people in my support group who have very loving mother’s, but they still have Sz.

The way it was explained to me… genetics vs. environment is…

The Sz light switch is always in the room due to genetics… now it’s been turn on… environment or triggers or stress or just life.

For me the Sz light switch was just on. I have a good family, my parents are both teachers. I was never abused, we didn’t go hungry, life was stable… yet here I am. There is mental illness in the family.


Sure, people who have loving mothers/parents also get sz that’s completely true. For these people, the switch (predisposition to the illness) may just be another, and the vulnerability stronger or weaker. I believe, the switch for me was the parenting. And for me the illness has not been very strong (knock on wood) so with the right circumstances it could have maybe been prevented.

Btw, I know this thread you linked - I have been answering in it by myself :slight_smile: in there is no definitive answer. I am rather wondering about the sz-schiziod personality connection here.

I lucked out with very kind, loving and accepting parents. My mother taught first grade most of her life and has a very good understanding of children. I also have no history of schizophrenia in either side of my family. Personally I think there’s a bit of a current trend to over focus on the genetic causes of everything at the expense of other causes.

Not just schizophrenia or even mental illness either. I did over three years at an outpatient dual diagnosis center and it was all “you’re just born this way” "It’s the way you’re brains wired (I learned first hand that a lot of addicts/alcoholics ARE born that way, but I’ve found there to be far too many exceptions to this rule for it to really be a rule.

I believe it’s as with most things, very much both genetics as well as life experience or other factors.


This is a ""chicken or the egg’ question. It is also a “nature vs nurture” question. That argument has been going on in academia for decades. As for my mother - I put her through a lot, and she remained supportive through it all.

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Against a 100% nature/genetics theory are studies with identical twins, where the chance of developing it is 40 to 65 percent… Wouldn’t it be 100 percent or at least in the 90ies if all is inherited?
For people having sz who have supportive parents, this theory really could be an offense, but i believe a percentage of the people with sz have had difficult parents, or in my case a parent with a personality disorder linked to sz.

My dad was a paranoid sadistic psychopath.

My mother wasn’t cold, but unsure with me.

Her mother died from an ongoing illness a month before I was born. She always said the dr told her ’ I might be twins.’ Knowing her, I think she must have been disappointed. And from the beginning fake in her expression of feelings toward me.

They’re finding that genes aren’t fixed, but turn on or off due to environmental stimuli.

J hit it on the nail exactly - We were born with the chemical/gene SZ factor - Through environment, stress, drugs, trauma abuse whatever it might be, turns the schizophrenia switch on and we enter into schizophrenia land.
The SZ genes are always present, stress/environment usually plays a role, but sometimes does not

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thought i would say hi.
take care


I thought everything on the internet was true (being sarcastic by the way). I do believe Schizophrenia can be hereditary. There have been strong cases in my family’s history (at least on my mother’s side) though no one had ever officially been diagnosed. Like mentioned above back in their days they didn’t seek out treatment. I don’t know much about it being environmental.

I think Schizophrenia as a chemical imbalance in the brain mine was caused because I was like 2 months premature, I’m sure. I had problems as a kid but they were never serious until I started going through my teenage years. I’m not a doctor or a professional though, just a sufferer.

“Nature v. Nurture” is quite a poor description of the choices, though. In my family we have Type 1, Type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism and schizophrenia. I read a very interesting (though very difficult) scientific paper that says they are all autoimmune disorders with a microbial “trigger”. This may indicate that there is a different gene mechanism working, that is, there are dominant genes (always shown), recessive genes ( only if both parents have it) and a third type that only affects you if it is triggered. So it is Gene + Environment, not Gene + Your Mum! Paper here

I belive my paranoid sadistic father is the cause of my illness. I started hearing voices at 15. I moved away from him at 16. But I only got worse and tried to drink my self out of the problem. I was constantly drunk until I was 21 and got a job driving a car.

I have a cousine, we have never met, who has schizophrenia. It would be cool if he also was on this forum. But I’m too much of a chicken to out myself to be recognized.

Well maybe i need to be a bit more specific why i think its her. As mentioned above, my parents divorced when I was 2 years old. From very small on, my mother wanted to prevent me seeing my father, including my fathers family. My kindergarden was in front of my grandmums house (fathers side) despite of this i very seldom could see her or my father. When I was 9, she met a western man (our family is from eastern europe) and married him - for money, not for love as this man was 13 years older than her and very fat. This man sexually abused me and even his real daughters, too. After she could move to western europe by marriyng him, she divorced him. By then, i had a very very low view of her, due to the marrying and the abuse she put us through only for coming to the ‘richer’ country. Obviously, I was now even cut out more from my fathers side of my family and we were much poorer situation due to the fact she could not get a job which she studied in, so we were living in a small flat next to the highway. Later, I found out that she had married again, this time for money in the sense that another foreigner paid her, she did not tell me, but i found out by requesting official documents for myself. I seriously dont understand why she exchanged a decent life in a poorer country to a poor life in a richer country.

Because she has had such a negative and huge impact on my upbringing or i.e. environment - sexual abuse, being a migrant, suddenly poor, cut off from the rest of my family - i think she caused it.
If i would have been at the same place, more or less with a happy upbringing and with access to the rest of the family, then yes, things would have looked different. It is just very sad that a parent can neglect the childrens needs so much for just greed.

But hey, thanks for the paper, its interesting. I believe a percentage of the sz is caused by viruses as the article says (i havent read it through the end yet) interesting is also the discovery magazine article from June 2010. Or the SZ-MS connection… Or the probable connection with Toxoplasmosis.
i tend to disagree that sz is caused for everyone by the same thing. i am still convinced mine has to do more with the upbringing as explained above.
I agree what mussel says the recent years the overfocus on genetic/viral vs. other causes is definitely there.

Yes, I agree. I think there are various “schizophrenias”. That’s why everyone requires personalized treatment.

Hi Anne, I am new to this forum, and I believe my mother has schizoid personality disorder. There is a theory any personality disorders that says that people who have developed personality disorders, have/were born with biologically sensitive brains, then because of growing up in an environment which is not supportive, they develop the personality disorder. What that means is that many people have the biological sensitivity to develop a disorder, but if they have a good environment and good parenting, they will be much less likely to develop disorders. So even if you have a good environment as a child, you can still develop personality disorders bc of the biological component, but it will be much less likely to happen.

From what I have read online, schizoids as children, felt so sensitive in their brains, that they had to shut down their emotions in order to survive their childhood environment. Emotions include love, warmth, affection, loneliness, hapiness, etc. The disorder makes it so that they cannot express emotions, and that they even have difficulty feeling any emotion. So that they have to try to copy emotions and enact what they believe is the norm in social interactions, for example in receiving a gift, they will make-believe and pretend to feel happy, such that it looks like they are faking the expression- which, they are! Many schizoids prefer not to get married, and if they get married, dislike sexual relations bec they don’t trust others enough to be close, and bec they prefer not to be close to anyone. Schizoids even have difficulty feeling lonely, such that they don’t feel lonely even when alone, but what they instead feel, is bored. They prefer to be alone. One exception is if they are depressed, they might feel some loneliness mixed in with the depression; otherwise, they just mostly feel bored, and can’t feel loneliness.

As for the coldness of your mother, I have experienced this all the time with my mother bec it is a symptom of schizoid personality disorder. Having a schizoid parent is very difficult for a young girl because she will not get any hugs or any comfort or affection. Many schizoids avoid all touch, all affection, and they try not to bond with their children or have a relationship with their children. So, if you experienced your mother as being cold, it is because she was unable to express emotion.