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Relative's Erratic Behavior Threatens to Take the Merry out of Christmas

DEAR ABBY: One of my relatives has bipolar disorder, and as far as I know he takes medicine for it. However, at our Christmas celebration last year he became verbally aggressive and abusive toward a family member who had done nothing to provoke it. Needless to say, it put a damper on the festivities.

Some people make excuses for him because he's bipolar, but I don't want another holiday ruined because of his behavior (which can be unpredictable). Must the rest of us sit on pins and needles hoping he doesn't explode this Christmas? I'd prefer not to invite him until he has better control of himself. Your opinion, please? -- HOPING FOR HAPPY HOLIDAYS

DEAR HOPING: You have a point. A solution might be to talk directly with your relative and explain that if he's taking his medication -- which means there will be no unpredictable outbursts -- he is welcome to be your guest for Christmas. If not, however, he should make other plans.

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