The Author

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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
I am overcoming schizophrenia, and I believe others can too. Here is how I am managing my condition...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Schizophrenia is not Caused by BAD Parenting!!

The situation that I am about to discuss with you is very personal and a sensitive topic, however, similar things most likely occur in other people's families as well.

After I had my psychotic break, relatives believed my mother was to blame for my illness. They believed I wasn't raised right and my mother's parenting skills were to blame. Although this was a harsh attitude towards my mother, it was another form of denial. Family made accusations, although I was not even raised in the same state as the rest of my family. Once a person has a mental illness the whos, whats, wheres and whys really do not matter. The only thing that should matter is getting that person back on the right track and moving forward toward recovery.

During my childhood, I always felt loved by my mother. She would call me her "princess," "little queen," "pumpkin pie," or "ratcoon." I remember her telling me "I love you," and exchanging hugs before bedtime. She always had high standards for my sister and me. My mother was very strict, we had a specific routine to follow, do our chores, do our homework, and then play.

Before my illness interrupted my life I was involved in a lot of activities. My mother still does not understand how I managed to juggle so many activities while I was in school, to this day. I was involved with my college cross country team, part-time job, church, and school. I was very active, an over achiever having made the Dean's List my freshmen year of college. My family never remotely imagined me having an illness such as schizophrenia.

Accordingly, my family's anger turned towards my mother. She was an easy target because she did not live her life the way other relatives wanted her to. She divorced my father when I was a baby and did not remarry. Neither of my relatives lived a perfect life either, but it was very easy for them to point a finger. This incident caused a lot of friction within my family, that still hasn't been resolved.

The truth is, nobody is to blame for mental illness. My great grandmother having a mental illness, is evidence that the illness started its course before my mother was even born. If you are a victim of being called a bad parent because your child has a mental illness, it is not true, and you are not alone.

There is no known cause for schizophrenia but it does involve a combination of genetics and environmental factors.

16 comments:

Summer said...

good post... and I think ti will be helpful for a lot of parnets who worry about things like this happeneing to thier children. It is very good to hear from someone who has been there and knows that the blame doesn't do on any one person. There are too many factors to let somoene carry the burden of such a difficult issue.

lowincomelady said...

My parents met each other in a mental hospital. They married and had me. They knew the risks of me developing schizophrenia and they were looked down on by relatives for having me. I did develop schizophrenia. I had a 60% chance of doing so because of genetics as they both had it. But I am lucky, the medications work well for all of us and I like my life and I have a wonderful son. He has a 12% chance of inheriting the disease which is much better than what I had!

lowincomelady said...

Sorry I forgot to check the box to email follow up comments.

ACDesign said...

In my family, there was more blame between my mother and father. Surprisingly, many extended family members been very accepting. Since mental illness runs on my father's side (an anxiety on my mom's side), there was a lot of denial and blaming. My father would deny and both of them would blame each others. The bottom line is that no one can control genetics but recovery is possible. I think now, they both realize that what happened to my brother is no one's fault nor is it worth denying. With that said, I did experience a lot of friction within the (extended) family growing up. I have come to the conclusion that some relatives may be dealing with undiagnosed mental illnesses. Let me just say that a lot of strange behavior I have seen may be caused by a mental illness. I hope some day we will not feel ashamed to get treatment to treat a chemical in-balance. I can tell you that the severity of schizophrenia can come in a less extreme cases (most are left untreated). This is the case with my sister and possibly father and aunts. My heart goes out to all of them!!!

Valash said...

lowincomelady,

not to be too harsh or blunt but it is no ones business- family, relatives, friends- whether or not your parents had beautiful children such as yourself. Who, then gave them a beautiful grandchild, who is happy, mind you.

The world does not stop because someone in the blood line has diabetes! The world does not stop producing because someone in the family bloodline has high blood pressure! The world does not stop because of imperfections and there are so many of them.

Your family and anyone else should not single out people with mental illness. It is illogical to stop having children because of some imperfection, which we all have, if someone wanted to stop mental illness from developing in future generations nobody would be able to have children in my family or a lot of other families for that matter- that is ridiculous and so unfair!

I am glad that your parents didn't listen to your family and had you, I am sure you brought a lot of joy into your parents' lives.

Ashley

lowincomelady said...

Thanks Ashley. My parents and me and my son live together (in a house we own!). We have my mum's sister and husband and 3 of their offspring's family living not far from us. They never visit or make contact, not even at Christmas! My mum's sister will ring sometimes and will only visit about 2-3 times a year. My Dad has no family living in Australia and what he has cut off contact with him years ago ... I think his mother is mentally ill but undiagnosed...the stories I have heard! Anyway, this means we have very little contact with family. I think its because of the stigma attached to schizophrenia. It hurts especially at Christmas time when we are home alone with no family to go to or come here...

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lemuel said...

this is the first time i read a post from a person with schizophrenia. i got a lot of information and i thank you for that. i believe that your recovery will be soon and i hope you will continue to write more about your recovery. thanks!

K.C. Jones said...

Good post and very true. Eating disorders are also often blamed on the parents. EDs (eating disorders) are really tricky though, because there does seem to be a correlation between the relationship between the person with ED and their mother, but even so, I believe it's wrong to completely blame another person. For one thing, many people have parental problems and do not develop a mental illness and for another, it does not take away the fact that the only person that can take the responsibility of getting better is the person with the illness, themself.

Anonymous said...

About three years ago Margaret and I visited my aunt on my fathers' side. Somehow the discussion turned toward my SZA. My aunt said my mom's side of the family is the reason for my "illness." I was aghast. She said look at my brother Mike. Mike is developmentally disabled (DD). I have a nephew is DD too. Later on I talked to mom about it, one of the few times I was allowed to speak of such terrible events. Come to find out I have two first cousins, both on mom's side that had a MI. One I never met. I know there's no known cause for a person's MI. I believe that I was born with SZA and the abuse I suffered as a child and my drug abuse in my teens is what brought it to a head. My pdoc told it to me like this- The space shuttle that blew up was broken before it launched. I know I was broken before my 1st "break."
Whatever the cause, I learned how to cope with it. It wasn't easy, but I feel I turned out pretty good. Recovery is possible. Take your meds, don't drink or do drugs and get real with yourself.

earlyriser said...

I made the comment posted anonymous.

aries28 said...

Oh how I can relate, the Father of my Oldest Son, who is 24 now, used to think the same stuff. He and his family thought the OCD was son was diagnosed with and lives and struggles with daily was "all in his or my head". How dare those people who didn't have to deal with it or lie with it say that. Even my own Mother has thought my son was "special" which irritates me and now that he's older kind of hurts him. He has held jobs and has just recently ventured out to his own apartment. Because I love hom and know he can and will be a successful individual in LIFE and with my help he will acheive this and so will YOU! I will always have you in my thoughts and prayers. Peace!

Mom said...

It's very sad that when things do not go the way it was hoped to go people even think about pointing fingers. Where does that even come from... just puts fuel in the fire. That takes a lot of energy which can, instead be directed towards fixing whatever everyone believes was broken.

You really learn a lot when the going gets tough! Skeletons come flying out of the closet, emotions you never thought you'd receive from your loved ones are thrown on the table. OUCH!! Behaviors come out that are unbelievable. Who cares who's at fault! Who cares if its from moms or pops! The only issue should be coming together and making it right!

I learned a lot when this happened to my daughter, most of it painful. I would personally classify ignorance to this type of problem when the family separates during a crisis. I am not proud to say this but we have not recovered from this!! If my daughter is able to make progress why can't we? Very sad, very unfortunate... but, life has to go on...

Mom

Anonymous said...

It really helped me to read all the other posts. My son has lived at home for the past 5 yrs as he felt unwell when working in London. He had a pychotic episode 3 mnths ago and after coming out of hospital he became suicidal & hung himself after going back to hosp for only 2 days to review meds. I have been looking to blame myself & husband in any way which comes into my head and have been racked with guilt

brian said...

LIE. I had scizophrenia it WAS caused by bad parenting. To this day, if I spend more than a day with the parent responsible, I will begin having symptoms again.

Anonymous said...

schizophrenia usually starts in infancy. not necessary does the parent intentionally mean to harm the child. the parent is ignorant as to what it takes to nurture a child @ this very vulnerable age.all mental illness starts in the developmental stages in childhood!!children need a holding environment.most parents are not aware of this.