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Thursday, August 20, 2009 Marie, Community Member, asks

Q: If someone is Schizophrenic, do they always have problems making up their mind and sticking with it?

My husband is schizophrenic and we currently are still separated. However, we were just beginning to move towards each other again and several things happened that I am trying to sort through. While my husband has been on his meds for about 2 months and it does appear to be helping, I am trying to sort through what he may always struggle with or if the problems between us have nothing to do with his condition.


In our relationship, problems always arise when we as husband and wife decide on a situation. However, for whatever reason my husband easily gets influenced by the feelings, thoughts and opinions of others and will then go long with what some other person is feeling, thinking or believing.????


He follows their feelings even when their sugguestion is not the reasonable solution to the problems or situation in his life???


Example: My husband called me today when he ran out of gas on the way to work. In the phone conversation he stated that he was in short walking distance from his job however, he was taking friend somewhere --who was also with him. My first response knowing that he had to be to work at 2pm and it was 1:50pm --was that I would come to fill up the car with gas while he went on the work. This meant he could walk this short distance and make it in to work and I would assist take care of the car and gas. Additionally, I was willing to take his friend where they needed to go once I arrived or I suggested that the friend might be able to catch public transportation given the situations and the time it would take for me to get to them. Well, before we hung up, it was ok with my husband --however, he still ended up calling his mother to do what we had already resolved.  On my way to help him, he calls me back to say never mind.


This situations happens a lot.  He will ask for my help or assistance in problem solving and we will agreed on a solution. However, others around him may have their own opinions and even though they don't know the situation and agreement with me and him -- he allows them to make him feel bad and that he should really go along with what they feel.


What do you think? Is it me? or could this very well be a pattern and a way by which my husband gets confused?  Because this is hurtful to me as it happens over and over again.

I wonder why he always ask for my help and what I think if it does not matter?

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Answers (3)
Christina Bruni, Health Guide
8/22/09 9:18pm

Hello Marie,


What Carolyn said makes sense though it hasn't happened to me lately.  I do believe that it's a lack of confidence in one's choices.  You are afraid of making the wrong choice even when you agree on something because you are unsure of yourself and have doubts.


This is something he needs to work on: follow-through.  The ability to follow-through is a skill that each of us has to adopt, whether or not we have schizophrenia.  How this played out early in my recovery was that I worked at a job I was miserable at and couldn't follow-through on doing one of the tasks so it never got done.


To me follow-through is the skill that guarantees success in any endeavor.  Your husband owes it to himself to risk following through on a decision and accepting the consequences.  Ideally, he will also initiate making some of the decisions.


You may want to tell him how you feel when he does an about-face and changes his mind.  You would not say, "You make me mad when"-you would say something like "When you do this [insert the behavior] I feel [insert your response]."  Any relationship involves honest, open communication-which is a two-way street.


It is up to you whether the continuation of this behavior is a deal-breaker.  It is certainly affecting your relationship.  More importantly it's affecting his recovery and the bottom line is whether he's committed to working on his recovery.


As I've said before, recovery is not quick and it isn't easy.  Like Carolyn told you, your husband will have to take his meds every day as prescribed to achieve the best possible recovery outcome.  If I were in a relationship with a guy with schizophrenia who did not take his meds, that would be the real deal-breaker for me.




Marie, Community Member
8/23/09 2:23pm

Thanks, Christina for your perspective. I really appreciate the support, as both my husband and I have been doing our best at this point. I commend him on how he has actively been engaging in his own recovery -- and he is really so much better. I believe if he can make up his mind always keep his recovery first while taking his meds he can begin to follow through in other areas. However, I do agree that the lack of following through and not trusting his own judgment is what has affected our relationship. I believe that my husband and I can fight this but its something he has to commit to. I will definitely continue to communicate as you suggested. Thanks Smile

Daleri, Community Member
8/21/09 12:36am

I could be wrong but that seems like a personality issue. It doesn't seem related to sz unless it is an issue of not being able to trust his own judgment. That might be what is happening. However hard for you and others, it must be harder for him because it is happening to him. Medication also is not perfect. There are usually some side affects.

Marie, Community Member
8/23/09 1:53pm

Well, thanks for your input. I really do think this is related to trusting his own judgment. I agree that this is really hard for him as it sends me mixed messages. For me it was so helpful to hear from you guys and keep things in perspective. The support helps us both as he is now open and working his recovery. Thanks so much!

Donna-1, Community Member
8/22/09 4:53pm

Marie, I am very much of the opinion that your husband's flip-flopping on decisions is related to the schizophrenia.  It is difficult to put into words what goes on in the mind of someone who has sz.  In my own case, I gave up making any decisions for myself and just waited for others to make them for me.  Or I felt forced to do things that did not aid in my recovery, like trying to work.  Naturally, sz makes you unsure of yourself.  I mean, you hear voices, have delusions, have paranoia, have trouble focusing enough to proceed smoothly from problem to solution.  I know I used to second-guess myself a lot.  I would make plans then change them right in the middle of things.  I would commit myself to doing things and then back out at the last minute.  It seemed I was never sure which direction to turn because I would hear conflicting instructions among my voices.  So often, I just did nothing.  And no one understood how I could just do nothing.  It was too hard to explain how it was in my head.


Encourage your husband to keep taking his medication as prescribed -- that is the most important step.  Sometimes, the road to recovery is a long and painful one.  But it can also be very rewarding.



Marie, Community Member
8/23/09 2:06pm

I really appreciate your experience with sz -- it really helps me to relate. Its really difficult for us at times. However, now that he is actively taking his meds and apart of this community I am sure it will become less a battle. At least now I can give him the benefit of the doubt and support him more by encouraging him to continue on in his recovery. I believe that one day my husband will be able to self reflect much like you all and help others who suffer from sz-- I know that he can win this battle because he has made it this far. Thanks again for sharing, it gives us hope and clarity. Thanks 


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By Marie, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/26/11, First Published: 08/20/09