Dealing With Family Members’ Mental Health Issues

We agree that we have the responsibility to care and support our loved ones as a family member, especially when these individuals are dealing with a mental illness. But have you ever thought how much you should excuse family members for their unacceptable behaviors? When members of your family have been diagnosed with severe cases of panic disorder, anxiety, and depression, would you allow them to treat you and the rest of the family negatively? Understandably, your loved ones with mental health issues are not their normal selves. At times, they are short-tempered and irritable. They can also become quite vindictive and mean. Unfortunately, those negative behaviors are just part of their mental illness. As a concerned family member, would you confront and stop your loved ones from practicing negative behaviors? Or would you rather let them slip?


What Can You Do?

First of all, you need to realize that it is not your loved ones’ fault that they behave differently. There is something wrong with their emotional and psychological function, which makes them respond to things unfavorably. Thus, it is reasonable to allow family members to feel that way. It is the only way your loved ones can validate their strengths and weaknesses. It becomes their outlet in dealing with so many overwhelming things. However, there is a catch. When you let your loved ones take their frustrations out on everybody, you are not helping them. If you think that often ignoring their mean behavior towards the rest of the family will help, it will not.

As a family member, you have to allow your loved ones to experience the different levels of their emotional and mental state. It would be best if you never let them use that as an opportunity to feel entitled to everything they do. It would be best if you let them know when they are hurtful sometimes. It is okay to give your family members a break from criticisms. But if that process does not help them build up themselves and contribute to their fight against their negative voices, you need to undergo treatment, such as family therapy.


What Can Family Therapy Do?

Experts recommend family therapy because it promises to provide everyone a safe place to talk about things that family members struggle to talk about every day. Of course, you don’t have all the time to sit around with members of the family to discuss specific issues. That is especially if you feel scared to let your opinions out. You don’t want to hurt others with your words, do you? Honestly, you do not have that setup in your regular lives where people in the house allow someone to talk without receiving any backlash. Thus, it is essential that when discussing behavioral issues among family members, you need to have a mediator to control the situation.


It will be an excellent experience for everyone to attend a family therapy session that caters to mental health issues as well. That is because everyone will have a safe place to vent their frustrations as to what is going on with their relationship within the family. Family therapy can help in externalizing the issue. It is where instead of pointing out that it is your loved ones’ behavior that some members feel bad, you try to explain to them that their mental illness is the one causing the damage. It is like trying to put the blame onto something that shouldn’t have to be there in the first place. It is more about targeting what is causing the whole misunderstanding instead of focusing on the resulting behavior. This way, it makes your loved ones seek relief for the problem because they will start to see that it is not them that is causing others to feel bad. Instead, it is their mental illness.


Things To Remember

Usually, when you talk to your loved ones about the changes in their behavior, it upsets them. It makes them feel that you don’t understand their situation, and things can pretty much escalate into a huge argument. It can affect your emotional and mental state at some level. When you think too much about the impact of your actions and words toward your family member, there is a tendency that you will feel guilty of either saying or not saying anything. With this, you need to consider seeking your personal therapy.

It is entirely reasonable to feel exhausted and frustrated to almost feel trapped in an unfortunate family situation. That is because of the fact that you don’t want to hurt the people you love, who are already hurting due to their mental condition. So before you make any move in either trying to confront members of the family with mental health, seek personal or family therapists’ advice.