The purpose of this research was to examine how families adapt and respond to an aggressive child with mental illness. This article presents findings from a qualitative study of four families, which were selected as typifying the experiences of a larger sample of 14 families; each family included a child with mental illness and a history of violent behavior. The analysis revealed a five-stage pattern in how families perceived and responded to victimization and their child or sibling’s mental illness. The study suggests that families with a violent child with mental illness and other healthy children cannot live through episodes of violence without removing the child with mental illness from the home or suffering considerable damage to the family. The article concludes with recommendations for mental health practitioners and family intervention specialists.