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What Does Enabling Mean? Are you one of them?

Addiction is often stigmatized a lot by people due to its negative portrayal in society. Several reasons can make an individual addicted to certain drugs. Your work life and relationships may suffer significantly as a result of addiction. It can have severe psychological and physical effects on oneself.

Family members or friends frequently try to assist loved ones who are fraught with drug addiction. But, sometimes they facilitate the issue’s progression in addicts. This issue is known as enabling. It can take many different shapes, all of which have the same outcome—enabling the person to escape the repercussions of their acts.

Definition of Enabling

A person who supports addiction does so by enabling them to take drugs or alcohol and by shielding them from the full ramifications of their choices. It may sound adverse to some populaces, yet, many people who enable others do not do it on purpose. They might not even be conscious of what they are doing.

Signs that you are an Enabler

Here are a few signs that make you an enabler:-

1. Making an excuse for them: It’s only natural to want to help a loved one out by shielding them from the consequences of their actions when worried about the effects of their activities.

When you are concerned that someone may evaluate your loved one harshly or unfavourably, it can be tempting to offer justifications to other family members or friends. But your loved one would notchange as a result of this. For example, calling your partner’s office and letting them know they would not be able to come today.

2. Assisting them financially: If your finances allow it, there is typically no harm in occasionally lending a hand to a loved one. Giving children money frequently, though, can encourage immoral conduct if they tend to spend it carelessly, impulsively, or on items that could damage others.

Financially supporting a loved one who struggles with addiction or alcoholism can have disastrous results. For instance, helping your adult child financially can make them dependent on you.

3. Denying that they suffer from addiction issues: Admitting a loved one needs help can be difficult. They could claim they do not use drugs frequently and have only tried them once or twice.

You can decide to agree with them without actually believing them. Even if you find it difficult to accept this version of the truth for yourself, you might tell other members of your family that everything is alright.

Even though you genuinely want it to end, by not addressing the issue, you can make it worse. Denial of the problem may present difficulties for both you and your loved one.

4. Sacrificing your own needs when it comes to them: For the people, we care about, sometimes wish to make sacrifices. This may not always imply that you are supporting a person. It means that you are not taking care of your requirements.While it is crucial to look after yourself first, especially when caring for a sick loved one.You might not mind skipping a few of your usual activities for a few days or weeks.

For instance, your addicted sister leaves her kids with you and goes to work. But you know, she is not working anymore. You take on the responsibility of babysitting the kids to keep them safe. But that does not mean you need to sacrifice your time.

5. Feeling aggrieved: It is typical for resentment, or emotions of wrath and disappointment, to grow in a relationship when there is a pattern of enabling.Your resentment could be more focused on your loved one, the circumstances, both, or even on yourself.

Spending so much time attempting to help someone who does not appear to appreciate you may make you feel wounded and furious. Even if you do not want to, you can feel forced to keep assisting.

6. Letting them go for their aggressive behaviour: People who struggle with addiction or other problematic behavioural patterns tend to say harsh or abusive things or act. They might ridicule you, treat you with contempt, damage or take your possessions, or even hurt you physically.You might convince yourself that they would not do such things if not for their addiction.

When conduct is harmful, it is destructive. Your loved ones will believe that the problem can be minimized if they continue to treat you poorly without facing any repercussions. For instance, your partner may mock you in front of everyone because their addiction problem does not justify that you are not affected emotionally.

How to Stop Being an Enabler

Here are a few ideas that can help you to put a stop to enabling your loved ones.

  1. Embolden them to get an assistance
  2. It is okay to say NO
  3. Get a therapy
  4. Avert the use of substances near them
  5. Set your limitations for help


Encourage your loved one to seek therapy to stop your enabling behaviours. Instead of supporting their addiction, try to think of ways you might help them feel empowered. Just by volunteering to drive them to appointments or take them to the doctor. You could assist them in getting access to resources for treatment and rehabilitation.

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