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What is an enabler in a relationship?

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  5. What is an enabler in a relationship?
Asked: 2017-11-29 11:25:26
 I have read numerous articles on dealing with addiction in the family and keep coming across the term enabler. I have no idea what an enabler is.


Answered: 2017-12-01 09:52:50

Being an enabler is the act of allowing someone to have empowerment over you. A good example is if a co-worker doesn't come into work and you work his or her shift. By doing this you're enabling that person not to work.


Answered: 2017-11-30 08:00:46

The term enabling, said often by psychologists is used to describe the ways members of a family respond to an addicted member. Rather than to let an addict experience the consequences for his or her behavior, enablers tire themselves while trying to protect the individual.


Answered: 2019-04-03 16:52:01

The dictionary answer to this would be a person or thing that makes something possible, or a person who encourages or enables negative or self destructive behavior in another. But we both know that isn’t really very descriptive when it comes to a loved one. So in my research on this subject I came across this description that I now have made into a picture and put it in a frame on my wall so I can be reminded to no longer enable people I love, it only hurts them worse in the long run.

Enabling behaviors are those behaviors that support our addicted loved one’s chemical use. By not allowing the addicted person to accept the consequences for their actions….by providing the pillow each time they stumble or fall….we are enabling their chemical use. Some things i’ve also learned is that us as enablers have certain behaviors we may exhibit to cover up their behavior, like complete denial, telling yourself your loved one isn’t as bad as other addicts because they still go to work everyday, or we may find ourselves using with the addict or alcoholic, this way we can watch them and possibly limit their intake.

We may even try to justify it, because you know we all deserve something to help us relax after such a stressful day. We tend to avoid problems by keeping the peace and taking care of problems so we don’t upset anyone. We minimize the situation because its not so bad, and it will get better when life gets better. We will protect the addicts image, we begin avoiding our feelings by working too much eating too much or manicuring our homes so we don’t have to look at the real issues.

The easiest one for me was to take over the effected responsibilities. I would take out the garbage, and sweep the driveway super early in the morning so nobody would notice, my Dad didn’t do it cause he was hungover. And I always thought if I can just be patient enough things will get better, God will take care of it. Because I was a good person and soon my Dad would realize how much I had done for him. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Once I stopped helping (enabling) him he had to make a choice to get better.

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