The Negative effect Enabling has on both the Enabler and the Enabled

This post was written by Rhonda Wasserman

There are some major pitfalls when it comes to enabling another person. Both parties are affected when we enable someone. Let’s take a closer look at the pitfalls and the consequences. 

1.  We allow people to self-sabotage

 In the beginning, we often think that the person’s issues are small, that they will change, and that we can help them. For instance, we offer them a temporary place to stay at our home because they don’t have a place to live. We offer money to help people overcome any drug or alcohol issues they might be facing. Unfortunately, it develops into a persistent issue, and we are currently supporting them. The person may get dependent on drugs as a result, losing their independence., and self-sabotaging themselves.

Unhealthy choices lead to unhealthy behaviors. We are contributing because we give them money or care for them. They are not able to grow or be healthy because we are enabling them in their unhealthy habits. Consequently, we are self-sabotaging them and, in the process, we are self-sabotaging our own life.

2.  We get in the way of their progress by impeding their independence

We prevent them from gaining independence. We are always trying to take care of them and doing things for them that they should be doing on their own. As a result, we are getting in the way of that person’s independence.

3.  They lose their identity

They lose their identity because we are always doing for them. In the process, we lose our own identity because we lose our values. We stop living up to our values or standards because we keep allowing and accepting their shortcomings. It is not ok to continue to make excuses for someone else’s unhealthy behavior.

4.  We are constantly walking on eggshells

We constantly live with the worry that we’ll say or do anything that will upset someone. When we continually give in to someone, eventually they start to feel entitled.

5.  Last but not least, our greatest worry is that if we don’t do anything for them, they would either despise us or stop loving us

Are we afraid of being alone? Do we want them to love us? Does enabling them, provide us with real love? If we want someone to care for and love us, we must also get respect. Is there respect when we are enabling someone?

Self-sabotage, impeding independence, losing identity, walking on eggshells, and the fear of not being loved are all pitfalls of enabling. Sometimes we must let people hit rock bottom before they can make changes in their life. We must let people be inspired by their own change. If we are enabling, change will never happen.

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