Within the current Dutch policy context the role of informal care is revalued. Formal care activities are reduced and family and friends are expected to fill this gap. Yet, there is little research on the moral ambivalences that informal care for loved ones who have severe and ongoing mental health problems entails, especially against the backdrop of neoliberal policies. Giving priority to one’s own life project or caring for a loved one with severe problems is not reconciled easily. Using a case study we illustrate the moral ambivalences that persons may experience when they try to shape their involvement and commitment when a relative is in need. The case comes from a research project which explores whether it is possible to reduce coercive measures in psychiatry by organizing a Family Group Conference. The purpose of the article is to explore what theoretical concepts such as ‘communities of fate’, ‘communities of choice’ and ‘personal communities’ add in understanding how persons shape their involvement and commitment when a family member experiences recurrent psychiatric crises.