How can you stop enabling? This is such a tricky question because the line between helping and supporting and enabling is not always black and white. Rescuing is critically important when you’re dealing with young children. But adults, whether friends, loved ones, or relatives, who keep making poor choices and hurting themselves need life lessons more than safety nets. Detachment from helping doesn’t apply to people who are suicidal or mentally ill, however. When people are in crisis, they need extra support. It’s an important distinction to make.
What is enabling anyway? No one sets out to enable laziness, or helplessness, or addiction for that matter. On the contrary, many start out with good intentions. We love the person struggling with mental illness or addiction, and she’s in grave danger, so just this once, we bail her out of jail. Or he promised he’ll quit drinking. We want to believe him, but before we know it, we’re in a dangerous pattern of enabling. When we talk about enabling with regard to substance or alcohol use disorders we need to understand the consequences for us all. Read more
That why we don’t want to give too much help to those who can help themselves. We want them to be able to grow up and be healthy.