Refers to any behaviours no matter how well intentioned that directly or indirectly, allows the alcoholic, addict or codependent to continue their self-destructive behaviour.
Enabling consists of ideas, feelings, attitudes and behaviours that unwittingly or knowingly keep any person from experiencing and learning from life’s challenges, problems and their natural consequences.
We enable through caretaking by assuming their responsibilities, jobs, tasks etc. doing for them what they are capable of doing for themselves. Those we enable use and use us instead of doing. We protect cover up, make excuses, phone in sick, write late or absentee notes, feed, clothe, house, give them money, make excuses for missed family functions and accept unacceptable behaviour out of loyalty. We skimp on us and do without while caring for their family by allowing them to live with us, taking their kids to school and baby-sit out of a false sense of responsibility. Society tells us this is what good mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters or friends should do.
Frustrated and resentful when our loved one’s behaviour doesn’t change we feel we have failed. Our actions that have been tried with the best of intentions have backfired. If we are doing any of the above behaviour we are living in the problem. If we want to become part of the solution we need to realize that if nothing changes…. nothing changes and it needs to start with us. A definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
What does enabling do for us?
Enabling gives us a false sense of control.
Characteristics of enablers:
We blame ourselves and are unable to or unwilling to recognize our own powerlessness. Direct our resentments, anger and guilt to the object of our misguided help. Direct our resentments, anger and guilt to the object of our misguided help when our expectations are not met. Have poor nutrition habits, under or overweight, tranquilizer cigarette or other medication use. Are conscious of how others feel but have difficulty with our own feelings. We handle crisis but fall apart over trivial events. We have a higher incidence of stress illness including ulcers, headaches, colitis, depression, cancer, autoimmune and arthritis conditions. We are addicted to approval comments like how do you do it? And we couldn’t do it without you…. your special
Enablers in relationship with an active addict are abused and suffer loss in numerous ways:
Broken promises, emotional abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse, lies, increased stress, increased health problems, sleepless nights, panic attacks, anxiety, worry, anger, sadness, fear, accidents, loss of dreams, freedom, family, marriages, friends, jobs, children, childhoods, relationships, morals, sound judgment, brain function, vision, Fortunes, lives, loss of talents, skills, health and hope.
Enablers’ mal adapt to the dysfunctional behaviour. They do this by ignoring feelings, evidence, incidents, events, actions, solutions, attitudes, warnings, red flags, threats, pleas, and crisis by minimizing, rationalizing and denial.