1. Know that it isn’t just drinking or drugs that can be enabled.
- 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
2. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you ever ‘made an excuse’ for someone, be it for work, school, or anything like that.
- Do you ‘accept responsibility’ for his/her behaviour.
- Do you avoid the subject in fear of some type of confrontation?
- Have you ‘bailed him out’? Jail, a bad situation, etc.
- Have you, or do you, pay their bills?
- Do you loan money or pay bills (whether or not you have it)?
- How many ‘last chances’ do you think you have given him/her?
- Have you threatened to leave or kick the person out, but you never do it?
- Do you find yourself completing their jobs/responsibilities?
3. Do some introspection.
Are you an enabler? Is there a ‘reason’ for it?
- You may ‘need’ to be there…’need’ to help someone. It’s a circle…the enabler allows you to enable, thereby enabling you. Someone has to make the decision.
4. Understand that enabling is a co-dependent behavior, reinforced by the enabler’s need to be needed.
Is there more pain, than not, in your relationship(s)?
Until you make the decision to quit enabling, neither you, nor the person(s) being enabled, will truly be happy or complete.
- Acknowledge that you’re an enabler.
- Make a decision to stop enabling.
- Take action, allow the enabled to go on their own so that the cycle doesn’t continue.
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