Rather than take mental illness lightly with relatives, we are to find ways to cope that are healthy, but doesn't enable them to act even worse. I think of a person who has a serious issue with wanting to be the center of attention, be right/have the last word, and worse doesn't mind creating chaos even when there is nothing substantial to argue about. When dealing with people like these, we must learn how to deal with them from a distance. Whatever they once were feeding us to keep us coming back to them, we must cut it off so that we don't pick up on their negative ways. We also need to be mindful of how we react around them. It helps to be knowledgeable about one's mental illness or personality disorder so that we know how to deal with he or she.
Justifying hurtful behavior just so that we can keep someone a favorite in our lives is unhealthy and foolish. Sooner or later the so-called "favorite" is going to turn on us--the mental instability will show up and act ugly. Denying that someone is sick when the evidence is there that proves they are is just as ugly as the illness. Sick people take up for sick people. Mental illness has many symptoms that are tricky and makes its victims act as if everything is alright when it is not.
Here are some things to think about when dealing with family who are mentally unstable.
1. Notice what prescription medicines they are taking and look up side effects. (You can do the same with those who are illegal drug users).
2. List the symptoms you notice.
3. Talk with doctors and other relatives about your findings.
4. Seek a support system. Without one, you will feel like you too are going crazy.
5. Keep children away from adults who can't control themselves. It isn't necessary to put children in front of relatives who may not want to see or be around children for long. Don't use them to babysit your children. There is no way to predict when the individual might have an anger outburst.
6. Stay away from loved ones you know you can't handle being around and encourage others who may not be emotionally stable to keep away too. Many family issues result from uncontrollable tempers.