Spouses/significant others

Are spouses/significant others who don’t have this condition ever capable of truly understanding it?

I told my husband that I couldn’t handle any more adventure and that if we are going to do xyz then I need some safeguards and stability and he looked at me like I just landed from Mars. I wonder, do they usually come to understand what is going to cause symptoms for us over time or is it just going to be a constant surprise?

Of course not. If you don’t struggle with something personally you’ll never understand. But they don’t need to understand, they just need to be supportive.


I added more to my opening. That was oversimplified.

Over time, my husband has started to learn what triggers me. I think he keeps a list, and refers to it often when I start acting weird. You have to communicate, though, if you want him to learn. You have spent a long time passively trying to accept every curveball life has thrown you without complaining. If you want him to learn, you have to tell him when things upset you.

Are you guys still looking to move to Portland?


My boyfriend refused to let me talk about it and still won’t let me talk about it very much so in some cases no. He knows very little if not almost nothing about it. And prefers to think I don’t have schizophrenia. I think it’s the stigmas fault for him. I have to hide it or be careful with what I say to him about it

Thanks Ninjastar,

It’s nice to know that this could improve. We’ve only been married for a couple of years but those years have been very stressful because of poor life choices - not for lack of love or trying. We both recognize that we don’t communicate as much as we should and are trying to work on that. Getting ready for Portland has been yet another opportunity to practice. But I looked at him today and explained that if my anxiety were not handled before we moved up there, I could easily have a breakdown - he looked at me like he had no idea. I know we’ve spoken about this and in the last few days even… However, I think because he’s not seen me really sick, he can’t picture it. It’s almost unbelievable.
Then, the doctor came into the room. After hearing about our plan to move, she nearly had a panic attack worrying about how I would handle it. But my husband still sits there seeming like everything is perfect.
I think this can be a good move for us but I don’t know how to illustrate to him that it also might be messy and damned hard on me. I still feel like he knows very little about me sometimes… Thanks for listening.

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That seems so dangerous. But I wonder how common it is. I talk to my husband but he doesn’t seem to hear me, at all.

That last statement wasn’t fair. My husband loves me and he always listens to me. The problem is that he is far too optimistic about the possible outcomes of my symptoms. He hears me; he just doesn’t feel the need to be concerned over how things might be. He’s concerned for me; he just doesn’t really believe I can be hugely symptomatic.

Yes actually because I almost left to go homeless during one of my delusions because I thought I had no choice and he wouldn’t listen. He doesn’t know that bit at all. I was stopped by getting really sick

Goodness. It sounds like things could be much smoother with some changes in what is allowed to be talked about.

Having a relapse when you have a supportive and dedicated partner to help you is nowhere near as bad as having a relapse on your own. But yeah, there are some things a person just can’t understand unless they’ve seen it themselves. If you do have a rough spell because of this move, it will be an opportunity for him to learn. And then, maybe he will understand a bit better. My husband didn’t really understand how bad I could get until he witnessed it firsthand.


Yeah, I guess it’s bound to happen some time and I know he’d handle it well. Sometimes, though, I scratch and kick and do everything on the planet to avoid getting really sick. I haven’t been hospitalized in 16 years. Hopefully, it won’t come to that but as you say, my decline might be good for his awareness of my condition. There’s not really any way for him to understand without the experience.

Thanks :slight_smile:

And maybe you won’t get very sick at all. Maybe the transition will go relatively smoothly. You’ve learned a lot of coping skills.


Thank you. That would be very nice. :heart:

My ex-wife thought she understood what could happen with me, thought she was prepared to handle the worst, but it turned out she was not. I had a psychotic break in September 2008 (we got married in May 2008), and she was not prepared at all. She couldn’t handle the aftermath, either- the slow, gradual recovery- and she kicked me out that November. I have forgiven her for it, as I realize she was going through hell, too. Well, it’s not like she ever apologized and not like I ever told her “I forgive you,” but rather I just forgave her in my own mind, for my own sake. I’m not saying that will happen to you, though, if you become ill, especially since you’ve already been married for a little while.

But yeah, I don’t think they ever can truly understand if they don’t have the illness, especially if they have never seen someone that close to them become that ill.

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I’m sorry. That’s rough. I know these things happen - got abused and dumped by an ex 3,000 miles from home because I was sick. He didn’t get what actually happened and probably never will. All I had to do was act this way or that way and it all would have gone just fine. Of course, I couldn’t act that way: I was paranoid, delusional, anxious beyond words, losing my speech and my thinking was so disorganized, I’m not sure it was thought. Though I did think I was going to die out there; I was wearing children’s clothing by the time I got home. I didn’t wear children’s clothing when I was a child. I think my judgment has improved, now though.
I have a good husband. I feel very lucky. I don’t think he could leave me for being sick; he’s too empathetic. But dang it, I wish I could prepare him. He’s just so naive about things and so far completely unable to see me as unwell. I have to appreciate that about him but it also means that there are lots of risks.

Over the years my wife has seen me at my worst and best. She comes from a very simple Southeast Asian upbringing and she doesn’t seem to think I am crazy at all. She thinks I am tortured by ghosts which can feed my delusions sometimes but I usually find it humourous she sees it so simply. However, she is the best thing to ever happen to me and I couldn’t be functional now without her gentleness and care.


The people I’ve known who believed schizophrenia was a ghost/devil/spirit problem have had zero empathy for the person afflicted. It’s lovely that your wife has the humanity to understand the pain the problem involves. It sounds like you are very lucky.

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My wife knows that visiting with her family triggers me. She doesn’t care. The other problem is that because I can present as normal, I am in the habit of doing it at home now, too (it has become an ingrained habit). My wife forgets I have this illness unless I’m in bad shape.

Imbeciles. Not worth your consideration or even polite conversation.

Come-on now you can’t make such a broad generalization. You could also say I am an imbecile for believing that the radio talks to me as well.