Most people understand “enabling” as a behavior that prevents another person (typically a loved one) from recognizing or experiencing the adverse consequences of a personal problem. This in turn contributes to the affected person’s lack of awareness of the need for treatment or refusal to accept such treatment, counseling, or care.
It is not easy to stop being an enabler, but you can take certain steps toward that goal:
- Recognize that you play an enabling role and that you struggle with stopping this behavior.
- Motivate yourself to change by educating yourself about the loved one’s problem. This challenges false beliefs, dispels myths, and clears up misconceptions. A crisis typically produces great motivation to stop enabling, but waiting for such an event is ill-advised.
- Clearing up all these misunderstandings begins to free you from the guilt and fear that keep you bound in the enabling role.
- Empower and motivate yourself further with energy garnered from others by way of a support group that you either find or create.
This helps prevent a return (relapse) to the enabling behaviors you swore you would give up.