yep, i’m one of those. an enabler.
a person who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behavior in another.
from day one, i have hated conflict. i never stood up for myself with anyone. all through high school, then college, then with him. i rarely complained when he treated me crappily, because i thought “well, he puts up with me, i’m so lucky”.
so, when he broke up with me after nine months of dating, so that he could meet new people, i cried, and then asked him to help me move into a new apartment because my room-mates had gotten a new one, since he and i had planned to move in together, until we broke up.
i tolerated his phone calls telling me we could still “hang out as friends” even while he dated other people (that he told me about during these phone calls). when he was drunk and didn’t want to drive home, i let him crash on my bedroom floor, where he peed in the closet during his drunken stupor in the middle of the night.
i went to movies with him when he was bored, and i sidestepped him telling me i should move into his one bedroom apartment with him “as friends” to “save money”. we spent enough time together, that it wasn’t surprising when i ended up pregnant by him. then i moved in.
i silently endured it when he got a girl’s phone number during a meal out with friends (when he was drunk), when he told me he just wanted to see if he could still do it. and when he came home early one night when i was seven months pregnant and still in college, to tell me he had gotten fired, and let me freak out and cry, he came back with “just kidding! you are so gullible!”
of course, i didn’t know then that i was an enabler. i just knew i didn’t want to fight. i didn’t want him to think i was a nag or a bitch. i needed him to take care of me and our baby, so i could finish college. i knew that without him, i would probably be on welfare and food stamps.
nope, i didn’t know then what i know now…
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you ever ‘made an excuse’ for someone, be it for work, school, or anything like that.
- Do you ‘accept responsibility’ for his/her behavior.
- Do you avoid the subject in fear of some type of confrontation?
- Have you ‘bailed him out’? Jail, a bad situation, etc.
- Have you, or do you, pay their bills?
- Do you loan money or pay bills (whether or not you have it)?
- How many ‘last chances’ do you think you have given him/her?
- Have you threatened to leave or kick the person out, but you never do it?
- Do you find yourself completing their jobs/responsibilities?
More on enabling…Recognizing enabling behaviors…wikihow.com