This has been a question I have asked myself for several years now. It is unfortunate that there are so many people who seem to thrive off "chaos". I recently had a long and meaningful talk with a dearly loved family member who has struggled with the same questions for years. This is an incredibly hard thing to describe or deal with for those who have known people like this or have experienced it, you know how gut wrenching it is to watch people spiral out of control. There is nothing you can do to stop the behavior, the behavior happens for many reasons. In most cases this is in fact a personality disorder that does need medical and professional treatment and many never seek it.
For those left to pick up their pieces or live in the pain, destruction, and confusion they have left everyone in, it can be one of the hardest struggles you have to fight. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Keep a healthy separation from the person who is destructive.
2. The drama has to end when there is not a listening ear.
3. Set boundaries! Stick to them.
4. Do not conduct business or personal affairs with destructive individuals.
5. Tough love is key. The person is 'enabled" to continue when they are given money, provisions, and sympathy.
6. Removing yourself from the situation may be necessary. This may have to be permanent depending on the severity of an issue.
7. Call the authorities if you are being abused in any way. Violations of law and criminal acts,should never be tolerated even within your family. When it is a close family member, many struggle with the emotional attachments rather than their own safety. You need to do what is best for you.
8. Lost ideals are going to surface in your mind about how you wish this relationship could have been, accept that as a consequence of this persons behavior and move on. There are other people who will value you and cherish your relationship.
Hurting people always hurt people. Healed people bring healing and healthy contributions to a relationship.