Schizophrenic Mom is too Controlling

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I want to take this girl to prom but am afraid of my mom’s response. I am a senior in high school who lives with his mother. About 8 years ago after my parents divorced my mom began to change in behavior in terms of her perception of reality – speaking to the radio and becoming religious. Its been hard growing up with my mother as she always stressed and hovering over my shoulder. She originally took her medication on her own but I soon had to ensure she continued without her noticing. So I like this girl in school and am going to prom with her.My mom for the most part has never really been a part of my highschool life but now i think as I am leaving for highschool she feals lonely and insecure. My mom has started calling up my friends and asking them questions about where/whom am I with. I know that my mom doesn’t want me to be with a girl but I really want to go to prom. I basically want to know if it is a good idea to tell the girl i like about my moms condition and to be weary of her phone calls. But the thing is that i have never told anyone about my mom before and am worried about her response. Please help.

A. I am sorry that you are faced with these difficult challenges at such a young age. Given the instability of your mother, your home life seems chaotic. I understand that your parents are divorced but is your father aware of her behavior and the fact that she’s not taking her medication? It is important to inform him about what is happening in the home.

Her behavior is especially concerning because she’s involving others outside the home. Your friends may be confused or even frightened by your mother’s phone calls and report her behavior to their parents, who in turn may call the authorities. That is another reason why you should inform your father about your mother’s behavior. If mental health professionals are involved in her case, you should report her behavior to them as well. Intervention may soon be necessary.

You asked whether you should tell your prom date that your mother has schizophrenia. It sounds as if you’re going to have to tell her something because your mother may call her. It might be better if she aware of your mother’s problem. If you do not know your prom date well at this point, then revealing too much information about your mother’s condition might frighten her. You will have to best judge the situation and decide appropriately.

Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with schizophrenia. The laypersons’ perspective of schizophrenia tends to be negative.

You could provide nonspecific details such as: “my mother is having some mental health difficulties and she struggles when she does not take her medication.” Or “my mother worries about me and if she calls you it is just because she wants to meet the person I am spending my time with.” If you and your date develop a close relationship, you could reveal your mother’s diagnosis but it might be best to do so slowly. That is my general recommendation but ultimately, you’ll have to be the judge. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to write again. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Feb 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Schizophrenic Mom is too Controlling. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/02/19/schizophrenic-mom-is-too-controlling/