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I Am Scared of Becoming a Spitting Image of My Mother (Who Has Schizophrenia)

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Alright, quick backstory here: I’m currently 17 years old and I’ve moved out of my mother’s place last year. For pretty much my entire life, I’ve witnessed my mother acting like a lunatic. My dad and her argued over nonsense and he had to move us multiple times because she thought there was something wrong with the houses we lived in. She complained about demons being in the walls or something.. I don’t know.

She’s done other weird things, like talk about Ellen White and one of her friends she helped out when I was a baby. She often said that they were out to get her, her friend apparently stole her stuff. I can’t remember the rest of what she said, because it’s gobbly goop.

There’s way more. This is only the tip of the iceberg. I’m not going to get into further details about it because I want to get to the point.

My dad and me had no idea why she was acting out the way she was and I thought it was normal for a long time, until a social worker came over to our house one day. At first the social worker thought there was nothing wrong with her because she acted as normal as possible (which makes no sense to me when I think about it) They kept visiting us several times until my mother finally lost her mind one day. They took her into Waypoint (which is a mental health facility) and she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. This is when I was 12 years old. My dad and I were both shocked to find out that the whole time, she was paranoid schizophrenic. She was put on treatment for awhile, but she got off it and she became worse.

For the next two years, I didn’t worry about it, but as I did more and more reading on schizophrenia. I learned that it can inherited genetically and it can be triggered. When I turned 15, I started worrying and I’ve been worrying about it since. It’s gotten so bad, that I sometimes think I’m losing my mind and having delusions. I sometimes think that I’m hallucinating and I end up having panic attacks, I struggle to breathe, I feel like nothings real, my head gets very foggy and I can’t think clearly, which worsens it. I don’t know what to do… I’ve told my family about it and they just make it worse by telling me that I’m going to get it no matter what, which not only makes me depressed, but it makes me think that I won’t have a future.. I don’t want to end up being like my mom. I don’t want anything to do with her.. I don’t want schizophrenia.. I don’t know what to do… help me.

I Am Scared of Becoming a Spitting Image of My Mother (Who Has Schizophrenia)

Answered by on -


Just because your mother has schizophrenia does not mean that you will also develop schizophrenia. Having a first-degree relative with schizophrenia increases your chances of developing the disorder, but it most certainly doesn’t mean that you will. Many, many children of schizophrenics never develop the disorder. From my experience, I would say that most do not, though almost all worry about it happening.

If the cause of schizophrenia were known, multiple theories would not exist; there would only be one theory — “the” theory of schizophrenia. The fact remains that the cause of schizophrenia has not been identified.

The prevailing theory of schizophrenia is that it is a brain disease. Genetics are thought to play a role but how much of a role is not clearly known. Many researchers believe that stress and environment play a major role in the development of schizophrenia but how much of a role, remains a mystery.

It is common for people who have relatives with schizophrenia to worry that they too will get it. Having a parent with a severe mental illness often means having to be ultra-vigilant about one’s own mental health. At this point, your worries are beyond vigilant; they are causing you major distress and that is a problem that needs corrected.

It is also common for people with anxiety disorders to think that they have schizophrenia. It may be that your uncontrolled anxiety is causing your fears of developing schizophrenia.

I would recommend consulting a mental health professional. They will help you to manage your overwhelming emotions and gain control over your fears. Anxiety typically doesn’t get better without treatment. The good news is that anxiety is highly treatable with both counseling and medication.

You were raised by a mother with schizophrenia. Under those circumstances, your sense of mental health stability might have been skewed because of the odd nature of her behavior. You need someone who can “anchor” you in reality and provide emotional support. A therapist can serve as a powerful, objective source of mental health stability. Counseling can effectively address all the problems you have written about and it will help you to feel better. I wish you well. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

I Am Scared of Becoming a Spitting Image of My Mother (Who Has Schizophrenia)

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). I Am Scared of Becoming a Spitting Image of My Mother (Who Has Schizophrenia). Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 10 May 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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