The phrase “enabler” is probably familiar to you, but what does it mean? The term “enabler” is used to describe a person who helps another person continue destructive habits. The term “enabler personality” describes their way of being in the world. The stigmatising connotation of the term “enabler” is understandable.  Let us remember, nevertheless, that many people take on the role of enabler unwittingly. Some people do it on purpose and don’t even realise it.

However, there may be excellent intentions on the part of some persons who choose to ignore enabling relationships. The unintended results of these noble goals may be detrimental. The term is commonly used to describe those close to an addict.

The term “enabler” can refer to a family member or friend who allows the addict to continue using. It could manifest as rationalising their loved one’s behaviour or turning a blind eye to the truth. Some people may just refuse to believe that substance misuse is a serious issue.

However, remember that the term “enabler” is not restricted to the realm of substance abuse. As a general rule, enabling behaviour occurs when one person in a close connection condones, accepts, allows, or supports another person’s destructive behaviour, even while that person is aware of the potential negative effects such behaviour may bring.

For the Record, Not All Enablers of Condone Inappropriate Behaviour

It’s possible that some people don’t agree with it, but they choose to ignore the reality of the situation to avoid conflict. It’s still an enabling relationship since they’re not confronting the issue head-on.

If you’ve found this page, one of two things must be true: either you identify as an enabler or you’re acquainted with somebody who does. What should you do now? You’re on the lookout for solutions to the problem of the enabler in you. In the following pages, you will discover the solutions you seek. But wait… how does enabling differ from empowerment? Since the terms enabling and empowerment are sometimes used interchangeably, let’s first establish their distinction. Let’s start with some temporary definitions:

Facilitating the Life of a Person You Care About

When someone enables a loved one, they may step in to resolve problems for them because they don’t want their loved one to feel uncomfortable. Thus, they take charge and deal with the situation or invent reasons for their loved one’s poor behaviour.

Achieving Empowerment for a Closed One

When you love someone, you don’t try to stop them from pursuing their own goals. You may not get everything you desire, but you are allowing your loved ones to pursue their happiness. Loving someone involves letting them go through the pain of getting what they want. In other words, you enable them to choose for themselves.

Allowing and Permitting Are Relative Concepts

Don’t misunderstand, some enablers truly mean well. Many enabling relationships begin with well-intentioned attempts to aid the partner in question. These actions are typically interpreted as helpful because of the good intentions behind them. These supportive actions may be counterproductive if carried out in ignorance.

Most Family and Friends Who Enable Others Don’t Mean Any Damage by It

Enabling typically begins with well-intentioned efforts to aid. Behaviours that enable others to harm may masquerade as those that aid them. It’s possible to have the best of intentions when trying to help someone, only to unwittingly enable them.

Both are acts of love because they help someone feel capable and supported. But both paths may lead to the same destination. As you can see, giving someone autonomy means respecting their judgment. Giving an addict the freedom to pursue their addiction in whichever way they see fit is a step in the incorrect direction.

 A List of Enabling Traits

This begs the question, “Are you an enabler?” Do you know somebody who would be considered an enabler? Some enablers may not even realise they are doing so. Because being an enabler isn’t always deliberate, as ridiculous as it may sound. Now that you know what it takes to be an enabler, you should be wary because you may possess several of these traits.

You Turn a Blind Eye to Misconduct or Make Excuses for It

The catch is that you might be an enabler even if you disapprove of your loved one’s poor behaviour but yet ignore or allow it. Being an enabler also involves doing nothing to fix the situation, such as by accepting or ignoring it.

You are well aware, for instance, that your sister has a shopping problem. But you avoid talking about it because you don’t want to get into an argument. You may choose to ignore or accept the behaviour to prevent conflict. Maybe you’re holding back because you don’t want to risk your significant other’s disapproval. That kind of behaviour is enabling, too.

An enabler is someone who either says nothing or intervenes to stop the negative behaviour. A person’s undesirable behaviour is more likely to be perpetuated if it is met with indifference or tolerance. The problem will worsen if no one speaks up or takes action.

You Help the Enabled Person Out Monetarily

When an addict’s financial resources dry up, they have little choice but to stop engaging in their addictive behaviour. To provide a drug addict access to money, however, is to act as an enabler. If a family member is unemployed and struggling with substance misuse, they simply cannot afford to keep up their destructive behaviour. However, if you donate cash to an addict, you know exactly where that money will go—and that makes you an enabler.

Another case in point is a member of the family who consistently displays fiscal irresponsibility. Take your sister’s financial situation as an example. She has never been able to pay her full rent and is drowning in credit card debt. She receives a handsome salary for her efforts. It’s just that she can’t control her buying habits or her spending habits in general.

You continually give her money to cover her rent when she’s short. Not just once, but constantly. If you help her out financially, you’re encouraging her irresponsible spending habits. It’s admirable that you’re attempting to keep her from being evicted, but you’re also encouraging her irresponsible spending.

You Tend to Their Errors or Concoct Justifications for Them

It’s human nature to try to justify or conceal the actions of a loved one when you’re worried about them. You don’t want the gossip going around town to be about their bad behaviour. This is how we safeguard our closest relationships. Is this safe or dangerous?

Consider how often the topic of your loved one’s addiction comes up at get-togethers with other members of the family. You know it’s not over yet, but what do you tell those who ask? You tell yourself that your loved one is clean and is on the road to recovery. To do so is to excuse or justify their behaviour. By shielding the people you love from criticism, you are doing the right thing, but you are also permitting them to remain the same.

A second instance is when parents try to hide their child’s academic failures from the teacher. The kid, for example, might have missed a deadline for turning in an assignment. The instructor disciplined the student. An enabling parent does what? Talk to your instructor, beg for more time, and maybe even bribe them. What sort of repercussions will this have on the kid? If a parent always makes up for a kid’s mistakes, the kid will learn that procrastinating on schoolwork is acceptable. Because of this? That could cause a kid to slack off in class.

Their Duties Now Fall Under Your Watchful Eye

Do you take care of a loved one by performing their regular errands or assuming responsibilities for them? This is also an example of enabling behaviour. A relative with a precarious career, for instance, may decide to leave their community at any moment. Let’s assume that this family member’s actions have made it impossible for them to continue working there. This family member can no longer afford to keep their family in a safe and secure house.

You assume control as the enabling party. For example, you might be the one to go grocery shopping, take care of the housework, pay the rent, or hunt for work on their behalf. Anyone you aid becomes dependent on your assistance.

You help them out by resolving their issues. Because of this? They are counting on you. That they can always count on you to be there to save them. To what effect? If nothing is done to stop the cycle, they will continue to get lazier.

You aren’t helping; you are supporting the bad behaviour if, out of love, you persist to take over their responsibilities even if they know the repercussions will do more harm than good.

You Are Either Ignoring or Dismissing the Problem

Normally, if you catch a loved one doing something wrong, you’ll try to talk sense into them. But a facilitator is different. The negative behaviour is too obvious, but they still choose to ignore it. They could rationalise it by saying that they are trying to save the relationship or prevent fights between themselves. But in reality, you’re being a facilitator by doing so.

Say you discovered a liquor store receipt in the pocket of a loved one who is abusing alcohol. If you are an enabler, what do you do when you catch someone in the act? You simply ignore the problem and carry on as if nothing occurred.

You may have also seen your teen steal your wallet on the home security camera. You’re conscious of the situation, yet you choose not to discuss it with your child. Maybe you’ve had enough of the constant fights with your kid. Instead, you switch around where you stow your cash. It is also a sort of enabling behaviour to ignore or downplay the problem.

Your Sense of Contentment Will Be Diminished

Is your adolescent too lazy to do their chores? After a night of drinking, do you always make sure your companion is okay? Do you constantly step in to help a loved one who is incapable of handling a situation on their own? Have you been an enabler for so long that it has begun to interfere with your ability to experience joy in life? You’re having money problems too, right?

You don’t want to live like this. If your needs and happiness are being compromised, it’s time to make some adjustments. You can’t keep up that pace indefinitely. We should indeed give up some things for the people we care about.

But can you even conceive of the possibility that your offering is being misused? So much so that you can’t focus on your own needs, your happiness, or even your financial well-being. If you don’t address the issues at hand, you might be doomed to repeat this cycle indefinitely.

You Haven’t Been Sticking to the Limits You’ve Set

You’ve indeed used limits to curb your loved one’s negative actions. It’s being an enabler if weeks or months go by and you don’t follow through on the limits you set. If you don’t follow through with the consequence, your loved one will continue making poor choices. There will be repetition.

If your child doesn’t do their share of the housework, for instance, you might threaten to take away their phone for a week as a consequence. But then work or other commitments take priority, and you forget about the meeting. So, what exactly does your kid think? My mother is usually forgetting about my tasks, so I don’t have to. If you are too strict with your limits, you may be taken advantage of.

It’s crucial to stick to the consequences you announce. Your inaction sends the message to your loved one that their status quo is futile. This can increase the likelihood that they will keep taking advantage of you and their behaviour will not change. The enabled person will view your limits as meaningless threats.

That Person Has Earned Your Resentment

There’s a good chance you’ll feel resentful towards a loved one if you allow their undesirable behaviour. Relationship damage can occur when disappointment is suppressed and becomes animosity. You give up a lot and maybe even alter your habits, but for what? In exchange for what, exactly? Your animosity towards them may burn like fire forever in the future. There is no way to move past the hatred and anger you feel for this person.

What to Do Instead of Enabling Others

Are you familiar with any of the traits of an enabler? Here’s what you have to know if you worry that you’re enabling a loved one: You must immediately cease doing whatever it is that you’ve been doing. Put an end to being a doormat for your loved ones, whether they be an addict or adult child. Take action, establish reasonable limits, and avoid justifications. Stop coddling them and start empowering them. If you wish to stop being an enabler, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Raise the Issue

Avoid dismissing or ignoring the problem. Take a moment to sit down and speak things out with your loved one. Addressing the enabling individual head-on sends a clear message that you disapprove of their actions. Meanwhile, make it clear that you’re there and ready to assist.

Identify and Maintain Limits

Constantly enforcing limits can help curb troublesome actions. Setting limits that include punishment can be challenging at first, but they will ultimately be beneficial. You’re guiding them in the proper direction. Be reliable in maintaining these limits as you establish them.

Master the Art of Refusing to Engage in Enabling Actions

It’s tough to say no to someone you care about deeply. Though, you’ll benefit from practising forceful refusal. Put an end to the enabling behaviour by not accepting it.

Cease Acting as Their “Safety Net.”

This includes refraining from providing them with money, covering up for them, and taking on their duties. If you want to stop their bad behaviour, you must stop being their safety net. Although it may be challenging at first, keep in mind that you are acting in their best interest.

Invest in Professional Help for Your Loved One

Seeking professional treatment, particularly that of a mental health counsellor, can benefit a loved one who is struggling with a substance addiction disorder or who you believe could benefit from assistance breaking a harmful habit.

Invest in Your Therapy

A counsellor or psychologist might help you get perspective on your predicament. Your psychological well-being may suffer if things aren’t changed. You may burn out and start resenting your family member as a result. A therapist can assist you in this area. Take time for yourself and get away from all this negativity regularly.

The Key Point

To enable a loved one does not imply approval of their undesirable behaviour. You risk becoming an enabler when your good intentions lead you to enable someone else. Now that you know the drawbacks of enabling, you need to figure out how to quit doing it.

Let’s say you or someone you care about is struggling and wants to get better. A therapist can help you get through problems you’ve been avoiding. A family therapist might help if the problems are affecting multiple members of the family.

You can begin to recognise your enabling actions and discover effective methods of dealing with them through counselling. You can get assistance for these problems at Therapy Now Online. Stop doing any of these by scheduling an appointment with their online services right away.