“That didn’t work for me,” she says. “Neither was it helpful when family members wanted to ‘fix me.’”

Family members and loved ones simply cannot do for the patient what the patient has to do for themselves. This is a lesson I personally learned as well. I spent years trying to fix not only the patient but the mess of our lives she had created only to discover she was no more fixed than before and the lives of our immediate family members were lying in catastrophic heaps.

Finding spiritual guidance for myself with pastors and therapists who were well educated on the subject was utmost beneficial but also critical for my own sanity. Unfortunately, most people focus on the patient rather than those affected by the patient. One pastor I spoke with said, “Because the causes, diagnoses, symptoms and behavioral issues are all specific to the person and the illness, I have found my most important role is to be a support to the primary caregiver and not the patient.”

It is difficult—very difficult—to extend proper grace and mercy to those who cannot mentally appreciate it and—in the end and most often—throw it back in your face. But as Romans 12:18 tells us: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Emphasis mine).

If it is possible. Sometimes it’s not. These are the times I hold on to another passage of Scripture, which says: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:7, emphasis mine) In these times I stand firm within my boundary lines. I say, “I love you” while at the same time adding, “but I will not allow you to abuse that love.”

Eva Marie Everson’s book Reflections of Israel; A Personal Journey to God’s Holy Land (Thomas Nelson/Nelson Bibles) will release May, 2008. For more information about the book and Eva’s speaking topics, go to: www.EvaMarieEverson.com