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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I'm going for therapy to deal with a friend who has parnoid

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I'm going for therapy to deal with a friend who has parnoid schizophrenia. Have dated him for over four yrs. and he continues accusations of me seeing other people. He said he has these vivid dreams. It's very, very hurtful. My therapist says "dismiss and don't engage" but my emotions won't let me do this and I engage to my regret. How do I Not engage and a reaction to his idea which is real to him but a delusion. thank you
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
It can be very difficult to deal with being accused of something that is untrue. And when someone has paranoid schizophrenia, there is no real way of proving that the accusations are unfounded because it is the illness that is convincing the person they are true and therefore they are not based on reality.
You are stuck in a difficult place. Your natural response is going to be to defend yourself. After all, it is unfair to be accused of something you did not do. Anyone would want to defend themselves, but this is particularly true if you are a deeply moral person. What your boyfriend says to you would go against your beliefs as well as who you are as a person.
Your therapist does give you good advice. It would be easy to engage and turn this into a deeper issue through trying to prove your innocence so not engaging helps. And defending yourself with someone who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia is a no win battle. You are basically fighting an illness and not just your boyfriend. He does not choose to have these feelings about you.
However, if you feel you cannot hold back from defending yourself, there are two things you can do. First, look at why you feel such a strong need to defend yourself. If others know you, they know you are not capable of cheating on your boyfriend. And you know yourself that this is not true. So his accusations touch something in you that bothers you. By exploring what it does trigger, you may be able to learn to brush off his accusations and ignore the need to respond.
Secondly, you can decide on a statement that you use in your response each and every time he accuses you. It needs to be something neutral that allows you to feel better and lets him know that these feelings are about him and not you. Something like, "I am sorry you feel that way". This statement lets him know that he is responsible for his own feelings and jsut because he accuses you of something doesn't mean it is true. It also lets you respond without engaging too much emotionally. And by repeating it each time he says the accusation, he may tire of hearing it or realize he is repeating himself with his accusations and try to stop what he is doing.
It may help you to also take a deep breath when he does accuse you and try to let go. Picture in your mind that his accusations are just words and let them float away. Try any visual that helps you focus on relaxing and letting his words pass. If he tries to pursue it, tell him you need time and get out of the situation. Go somewhere and do something to help yourself calm down such as taking a walk or talking to a friend. With time, you should be able to react automatically in a calm way to what he says to you.
I hope this has helped you,
May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you so much for the positive rating and bonus. I appreciate it!
My best to you,

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