Enabling involves helping another person avoid the consequences of their negative behaviors such as addiction or gambling. Enablers inadvertently support their partners by helping the negative behaviors to continue. This can create a crumbling, unhealthy relationship.
Enabling can hurt both you and your partner!
Watch out for these signs that you may be your partner’s enabler:
1. You fix their mistakes. A person who is an addict, gambler, or involved in other negative situations and behaviors often gets support from their partner. Fixing your partner’s mistakes is a key sign that you’re enabling them.
- Do you clean up their messes, make up excuses for them, and help them with every little task?
- Enablers will often give money to an addict or cover up their issues. They may also help them with work or lie for them. Enablers go out of their way to fix their partner’s issues and take over the responsibility.
2. You do everything to avoid conflict. Enablers fear conflict and arguments, so they do their best to avoid them. These are all signs of enabling:
- Do you try to stop conflict by ignoring issues?
- Are you afraid of arguments with your partner and scared to bring up their addiction, gambling, or other issues?
- Do you stop arguments and walk away? Do you focus on keeping the peace at all times?
3. You give an endless number of chances. Although enablers frequently realize they shouldn’t do it, they still offer an endless number of chances to their partners.
- Do you give your partner the opportunity to return over and over again despite the failure to live up to promises? Do you believe that giving them one more chance will make a difference?
4. You minimize the situation. In many cases, enablers try to minimize the situation and make it seem less significant.
- Do you play down what is really happening with your partner?
- Do you make up countless excuses for their behavior and think it’ll go away on its own?
- Do you hide what is happening from your family and friends?
5. You enjoy taking care of your partner. Even though you know that their negative behavior is dangerous and risky, you find joy in being able to take care of them. You like that they need you and depend on you.
- Enablers often treat their partners as if they are children who aren’t capable of living without them. They make all of the decisions for them and cover up for them. They also use an attitude of superiority around them.
- In many cases, the support is also monetary. Since addicts and gamblers frequently struggle to keep their jobs or spend their money too quickly, enablers are often stuck paying all of the bills. On the other hand, they often enjoy being the breadwinners and doling out the money.
Enabling is a harmful technique that hurts relationships. Are you so busy protecting your partner that you allow them to continue an addiction or other issue? Take steps today to get help for you and your partner, before it’s too late!