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Do You Enable?

By Brian Maloney

We all have behaviors, tendencies, patterns, and the keen ability to recognize any and all of them. However, when we become so accustomed and engrossed in them, how do we know we are enabling someone else's negative behaviors?

It can be sometimes difficult to come to this realization, because it is has been such a seemingly normal way of life for a designated period of time.

Characteristics that you accept and are willing to ignore in your interpersonal relationships that yield dark consequences, somehow put the offender you enable high upon a pedestal, while you struggle to remain vertical.


You will surrender your values when you enable someone else to practice their ill-fated behaviors, because you fear some form of backlash, whether it be distance, abuse, living up to their great expectations, or upsetting their seedy addictions.

Your future is tied directly to theirs, your self-progression is like shadows that block the sun, yet you seem to continually turn your face to reality, only to enable another day.

You are not worthy!

Much of our lives we are consciously or sub-consciously injected via family, friends, society, or self, that we are simply not equal to others and consequently not worth as much as others are.

This false assumption is reinforced by the behaviors we enable and allow. Therefore, the cycle comes full circle constantly until it is broken....and you are the only one who can break it!


One day in the future, you receive a magical key that unlocks the doors and the cuffs that bind your hands together. The sun beams effortlessly across an icy blue sky, the birds are more audible, your purpose and focus suddenly have more clarity then ever before. You have reached your personal nirvana!

That place in the future is not that far off and that key resides inside you!

This is especially true, as long as you can understand that not condoning their behaviors is the only way out.

This means that their next drinking binge and you calling their work the following morning, only to lie about their inability to show up, or defending your kids actions when they are obviously wrong, has to stop!

You are worthy and your self respect will generate inner strength to confront this and any other demons that cast long shadows onto your life.

Asking yourself in your most logical voice if it is a healthy behavior you are allowing, will bring you the answers you seek. Subsequently, understanding that you as the enabler is as unhealthy as the enablee is an excellent place to start a discontinuation of enabling. Although what do you do with the person you are enabling after you realize this?


You do have them, and exercising them would be your immanent next step. You can express you displeasure that these behaviors have gone unnoticed for too long and that it is detrimentally affecting the relationship, so it therefore must stop!

Moreover, you can verbalize this in a heart to heart discussion, and in understanding the need for your personal mental health, give them an overdue ultimatum.

Separating yourself from this environment should be indicated if: You receive a flat-out no in your attempts to let them know that the enabling is going to discontinue and their behavior is, also. If they refuse to receive any type of treatment for their problems or addictions. If the effect of their negative behavior is obviously polluting any children.

Note: When children are in the picture, normal and unaffected, much thought must be given before breaking up their home and often should be put off until they leave the comforts of home.

This may sound like living in an internal prison, however, the health of any child must be paramount! A sacrifice for the betterment of any children cannot be overstated.

In addition, it would inevitably yield the relationship more time to mend, as you continue your attempts to work on eliminating your enabling, and assisting your partner's problematic behaviors to discontinue.

The main point to understand is that enabling someone to cyclically delve into their poor behaviors and addictions must be recognized with your own clarity and logic; then immediately discontinued in order for you and your relationship to maintain it's health.

So ask yourself, is enabling worth it?....Undoubtedly you will come to the realization, it is most definitely not.

About The Author


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