With over 21.5 million Americans battling addiction each year, most of us have a family member, friend, or neighbor who has struggled. Addiction consumes and changes every aspect of a person’s life, and those around the person are affected as well. Some of us may have had a close family member or friend ask us for money, ask us for a place to stay, ask us to help them get alcohol/drugs, and more. When this happens, it can be hard to say no. However, saying yes further perpetuates the addiction and is one of the worst things you can do. The following could be identified as enabling behavior:
- Protecting the addicted individual from the consequences of their actions
- Keeping secrets for the person to keep peace with others
- Making excuses for the addicted person’s behavior
- Bailing the individual out of trouble (pays debts, fixes tickets, hires lawyers, and provides jobs)
- Blames other people for the addicted person’s behaviors (friends, family, teachers, etc.)
- Sees the addiction as a result of shyness, adolescence, loneliness, etc.
- Avoids the person to keep peace
- Gives the person money that is undeserved or unearned
- Attempts to control the addicted individual’s circumstances such as making planned activities, choosing their friends, etc.
- Making threats that have no follow-through
- “Takes care” of the addicted person by doing what they should be doing themselves
Registered clinical counselor Candace Plattor states for Psychology Today that many individuals feel guilty about their loved one’s addiction – they take the blame and believe they have some responsibility in their loved one’s behavior. Although nobody inherently “chooses” to become addicted to something, there is still a point in time where the individual can clearly see they are making wrong choices and they can either continue making those choices or seek help and stop.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System claims that our feelings can cause us to enable someone – being in denial, avoiding problems, feeling protective, feeling superior, and being controlling are just a few dangerous ways to begin rationalizing our loved one’s behavior. By enabling them, we are withholding them from their human right to make mistakes, find their way, learn, and develop into a more well-rounded human being.
If we truly love them, we will carefully consider what we provide them and ask ourselves if they need our assistance or if they want it. There is a very real difference and if we can define our own boundaries and stick to them, our loved one will be much better off in the long run.
If you are seeking a treatment center for yourself or someone you love, call us today at 888-316-3665. New Vista Behavioral Health is a home to several world-renowned mental health and addiction recovery treatment centers. Our licensed, experienced healthcare professionals truly care about your recovery and will work with you to develop a holistic plan of action. Call us today for a consultation.