Here's what I recently did with some laceweight yarn in hanks that I ordered online
1) Untwisted the hank and laid it on my bed in an oval
2) Untie the little threads holding the hank together--I don't know if all lace weight hanks are tied by mine were and if yours is it might be why it's getting tangled.
3) Make a center pull ball loosley around my hairbrush (sounds crazy, I know, but I tied a piece of fabric around the bristles first and there was a hole at the end of the handle where I tied the end to make sure I wouldn't loose my center pull end) by winding the ball slowly and moving it in circles around the hank (instead of say, just pulling it and keeping the brush in the same place).
4) When I got near the end and it started flipping around, I put my feet through the hank like I would have put my hands to keep some tension on it.
It did get tangled a little but I was able to fix the tangles without breaking the yarn. The whole process took a couple of hours though for about 840 yards of laceweight.
Nothing is worth doing that isn't worth doing badly.
Find me on Ravelry as TheNatKnits