Dear Jax, that is awful of them, probably just ignorance.
Ignore them on this subject and foster the relationships as much as you can in other ways. If they bring it up, suggest they attend NAMI Family to Family classes to educate themselves.
The judgements are painful and useless. These illnesses are often so severe that we just have to ignore what or whom is not helping and move forward as best we can.
There were people in my life, people close to me, who I just did not talk to about the illness after the first attempts to reach out for help and understanding. Then a few years later, when things got so bad that there was no denying that severe mental illness was the cause, they did help out because they finally got it. But it took that few years of me not trying to convince the. When telling them the truth was useless, I just accepted that.