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Fear of schizophrenic brother

My older brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia around 3-4 years ago. I am terrified that he seems to have a deep resentment and hatred toward me, and that this could one day translate into something much worse should his condition deteriorate again (he has spent periods in psych wards in the past for his own and other people's safety). As far as I know I have never done anything to wrong him, but he seems to have a deep desire for me not to succeed on any level.

He will act "friendly" and normal on the outside towards me, especially when there are other people around, but behind my back he tries to destroy people's opinions of me by telling them horrible personal things about me. I visit him quite often to check up on him and make sure he's doing okay, but always come away from these feeling ten times more depressed than beforehand. Sometimes I will glance over at him and he will be sat there with his face twisted into an evil and hateful look, staring straight at me. It absolutely terrifies me. I worry that he may have thought about killing me in the past. Maybe only in his darkest hours, maybe more often.

I understand this is not his fault. I have great difficulty separating what is the illness and what is my brother. After all of the misery and distress he caused for our family, I have tried my absolute best to leave it in the past and understand and form a supportive and amiable relationship with him. Yet he still seems to despise me.

We both work in the same shop and therefore know a lot of the same people. When I started, he saw me doing well and becoming well-liked in the shop, and so decided to start spreading horrible rumours about me behind my back. I have not confronted him about any of this (as much as I've wanted to), just took the hit, out of not only fear of him, but concern for him and not wanting to cause any sort of fight or distress. But I am at the point now where I do not know how much more I can take. I have suffered from depression myself for the past two years and this business with my brother seems to be stopping both of us from getting better. I get the impression he WANTS me to remain depressed.

It is a horrible feeling being terrified of a family member. I have genuinely no idea what to do. Should I keep visiting him and trying to be friends? I'm just trying to do the right thing, but just being around him seems to fuel his hatred for me, and send me back into a depression for several days afterwards.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I would greatly appreciate anyone's advice or the benefit of anyone's similar experiences.
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First Helper nmh5090

replied July 15th, 2010
Hey, I think you should see him maybe a little less often, but don't stop seeing him.
But when your with him just be friendly and try and and maybe try and ask him if you can do anything to make there relationship better.. and maybe he thinks you hate him because he caused pain, and instead of being sad, he might display it as anger... and he's probably sort of jealous as well...
But if nothing seems to work, then as your last resort see him less and less...
But only if it hurts you. I know i don't know you but i don't like any one to be in pain so just know thats it's not your fault Smile
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replied July 15th, 2010
I've been through a lot - having had a schizophrenic mother. She was not on medication and was not diagnosed with it until I was out of the home years later... It was awful and unpredictable and I can understand your fears, your wanting to be close to your brother and other things you mentioned. It's important that you find some good support groups for yourself. Arm yourself with good friends who know you - if you don't feel that is possible - support groups will get you those friends.

I did have to go long periods without talking to my mom for me to feel some sanity. I pray that you work on yourself and focus on your own life. It's important that you learn not to need anything from your brother. He's not capable of giving you anything. That's hard truth - and why it's so important for you to take care of yourself. We can't have the capacity to love others and help others if we can't find the help and love we need first.
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This post has been removed because it did not meet our Community Guidelines.

replied November 7th, 2011
woops, your reply is not at all helpful. At no point did the original poster claim s/he is perfect, "great," or always likeable.

What is your goal? To make the original poster feel even worse? To have him or her sit down, think a long time about life, and come to the conclusion that he or she is a horrible person (or even evil, as you suggest)? Most intelligent adults realized a long time ago that they're nowhere near perfect.

You have had schizophrenia for eleven years, and while I realize this has caused you great pain, I beg you not to abuse those like me who are family members of those with this illness.

It is NOT a fact that the person who has schizophrenia is the individual who suffers the most from it. Don't you think it's hard for us too? You may have to live with your hell, but we're living with it too. Honestly, what is calling anyone "evil" going to achieve?

Instead of instructing others to examine and dissect their lives, YOU need to start with yourself. Ask yourself why had to write a cruel and disheartening response to someone who is genuinely in need of help.
The original poster said he is at THE END of his line. I know you've felt that way before, and yet you think it's okay to aggravate that person's pain...? If someone did that to you, how would YOU feel?

Don't spread your own suffering to other people, if indeed that's what you're doing here. It's disgusting, it's sad, and it has no place here.
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replied November 8th, 2012
I agree with you nmh5090.

I was about to say it sounds like "woops" is so nonsensically reactive and porcupine-like that he must have schizophrenia, and then I looked at your quotes and then his profile and saw that he has had it for 11 years.

Woops must be off his medication, or has never found one that worked for him. That's a tragedy, for him and his family. I'm sorry if that makes me sound cold.

I have an older brother who has schizophrenia. I'm 25, he's 28, he was diagnosed when he was 20. My family is a quiet family, so I admit we didn't have the best communication at the time, but the years right before and after he was diagnosed were some of the most emotionally abusive times I have ever lived through. He was like another person, a person I didn't want to know.

Abilify worked good for him for a long time, but he stopped taking it 6 months ago. He hasn't exactly gone off the deep end yet, which im thankful for, but he's a lot more defensive and argumentative (and having a problem with snorting adderall doesn't help, he takes 5 minutes to say something that should take less than a minute).

Maybe im just going on and on about my own problems, for that im sorry. But I agree with your post, woops was very mean and out of touch for saying what he said, and maybe he never responded to you because he realized he was wrong.

God bless you all
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