Interesting article-Are You an Enabler?

Old 05-14-2009, 10:19 AM
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Interesting article-Are You an Enabler?

Interesting article

Are You an Enabler?
Do You Know Why?
Do You Know How to Stop?
by Jannette Robert Murray

Do you enable others to proceed/progress in their unproductive patterns of behavior? Perhaps it’s your partner, a co-worker, your child (adult or minor), your parent, friend, or sibling. Do you understand why you do this, and how you can stop?

The person(s) whose unhealthy patterns you enable may be doing one or more of these behaviors:

Drinking too much

Spending too much

Overdrawing their bank account / bouncing checks

Gambling too much

In trouble with loan sharks / check cashing agencies

Working too much / not enough

Maxing out the credit cards

Abusing drugs (prescription or street drugs)

Getting arrested (you are bailing him/her out)

Any of a number of other unhealthy behaviors/patterns of addiction
However you look at it, they are driving you to distraction, and ruin!
Enabling is Very Often Part of Co-dependence
Any time you assist/allow another person to continue in their unproductive/unhealthy/addictive behavior, whether actively or passively, you are enabling!
Silence condones. So even when you say nothing (such as ‘minding your own business’), you are enabling the behavior to continue.

Sometimes you say nothing out of fear — fear of reprisal, fear of the other person hating/hurting/not liking you; or fear of butting in where you don’t think you belong. Perhaps even fear of being hit... or worse!

In the media we now see messages about reporting child abuse, or reporting domestic violence. The message is attempted to be conveyed that it is your business to report these things — whether it’s happening to you or to someone else. Our former First Lady’s book says “It takes a community to raise a child” — and it does. It takes everyone caring... enough to “butt in” when you see something that you know is not right.

“What are some of the ways enabling manifests?”
Sometimes enabling takes the form of doing something for another that they should do for themselves.

Sometimes it takes the form of making excuses for someone else’s behavior.

Sometimes the spouse of an alcoholic will call in to their boss to say that person is ‘sick’ when they are really so hung over they can’t make it to work.

Sometimes it constitutes a parent bailing out their child when they have been arrested for whatever:

Possession, use or abuse of drugs, alcohol or some other infraction of our societal rules.

Sometimes it is the parent of a young child who is in denial about that child’s misbehavior at school, on the playground, in the neighborhood; and

Rather than recognizing there is a problem, they get into a fighting mode and defend, rather than taking responsibility for correcting the situation in a healthy way.

Do you buy alcohol or cigarettes for a user/abuser of these products?

Do you cover bad checks for a spouse, a child?

Do you loan/give money, over and over, to anyone in your family who Has not’t put forth the effort or the commitment to get their own act together?

Do you finish up/do the work of a co-worker, who is not’t pulling their share of the load?

Do you cover for another in any way? (There is healthy helping, and there is unhealthy enabling. We have to learn the difference.)
These are all ways you might be enabling. And they are just a few examples of how that might happen. Anything you do (or don’t do) which allows/assists another person to continue in their bad/unproductive behavior or addiction... is enabling.

Why Do You Enable?
You more than likely enable out of your own low self-esteem. You haven’t gained the ability to say no, without fear of losing the love or caring of that other person. People who learn ‘tough love’ have to learn that their former behaviors have been enabling, and that to continue in them would constitute allowing the other person’s pattern of behavior to continue... and to worsen!
Is it difficult to stop enabling?
Well, it’s difficult if you’re trying to do it with will power.
And it’s not easy until you know you deserve to stop; till you know that you are lovable regardless of what the person you’ve previously enabled says to the contrary! ...till you raise your own self-esteem enough to be that strong.

(You may think it’s the other person who needs all the help — in truth, you both do!)

It becomes easier and easier as you, yourself, become stronger, healthier, more whole, learn to love yourself, raise your self-esteem, and learn all about the patterns of co-dependence / enabling / over-giving, and learn to be more assertive in saying what you know to be true and healthy.

The most important thing is your understanding of how you enable — and that you can stop.

Knowledge is power ... What you read and learn can help you
to see and recognize what’s out of balance, and what’s hurting you;
to work through whatever is needed – as you have any challenges along the way,
to guide you correctly, till you can guide yourself;
to review what you’re doing and make sure you are not’t sabotaging yourself (there are many ways one can do that!),
to recognize and work through resistance (that’s especially important – and to avoid getting in your own way),
and to support you all the way through.
You can continue to waste all the time you want not doing this; but know that in the meantime your pattern and that of the person(s) you have been enabling are continuing to worsen...

The only way out is through

Get involved in individual counseling, in the group therapy/support, in online counseling or group; but DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE about this now!

The longer you wait, the more severely unhealthy your pattern becomes, the more work it will take to reverse it; and the more it will cost...

However... there is a way to make it happen for yourself NOW!

Make your healing and the rest of your life being happy, successful, productive and a life of your own design begin, starting right now. Free those you've been enabling to also find their own health.

When you are your own highest priority, you’ll make it happen. No one will ever care as much about you as you should care about yourself. (And that may be something you need help to learn how to do, too!)

“If it is important enough to you, you will find a way. If it is not, you will find an excuse.”

Stop with the excuses — RIGHT NOW! That’s all someone else’s negative programming and the sooner you recognize it, let it go and take charge of your own life, the faster it can begin to turn around for you.
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:23 AM
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