Are you loving your children to death? It’s a difficult question to give thought to. The word “enable” takes on new meaning in the world of addiction and the perimeters of parental responsibility. What is it? Where does it start , how does it end? How do we recognize and approach it? Is it even true?

Let’s explore this one small word that has the power to take down a whole family.

First of all let’s get is straight, a person cannot be defined as an addict just as a person cannot be defined as a diabetic. That would be a very narrow explanation of who anyone is. Both of these terms signify a disease one is suffering from, not who they are. With that in mind we can begin without judgement. To understand that addiction is not a moral problem helps take the heat off everyone.

The art of manipulation begins at a very young age and is a very powerful tool for any child who wants anything. It’s easy to see in any grocery store when a child learns that mom is uncomfortable when he starts to attract the other shopper’s attention. Many moms will give in quickly to demands for that candy. Her darting eyes and blushes are not lost on the kids. It is obvious to even the young child the glaring body language of the people around her are doing the convincing for them. We have all learned the skill to some degree and have added to our life tool kit for survival

Addiction is a powerful precursor for the tool of manipulation to be used in order to feed a habit. Addiction wipes out the inhibition of guilt, responsibility or love and replaces them with pure need. The loved one seems to disappear to be replaced by this selfish, manipulative stranger who is not above intimidation to get what they can. It is a confusing time fraught with panic for parents who very often deal with it all in silence and fear, even while remembering the same behavior in the grocery store years ago.

Her parents enable him the daughter. Or is it the wife’s fault…she enables the son . She has manipulated her grandparents into enabling her.

How many readers have heard  someone take the hard line saying, “you have to change the locks. You must save yourself !! (What if it is a professional bluntly telling them?)

What do you think when you hear a mother saying, “I don’t care… you call it enabling, I call it taking care of my baby, he will die out there!” 

Yes your right, all of these examples are true. Sometimes it seems like the easier softer way, just to give in , buy some peace and quiet.

Or maybe there’s defensiveness lashing out as anger when it sounds like your being counseled to kill your child. Because maybe that’s how it is interpreted to those mothers who have birthed babies from hard labor, wiped their noses, washed a skinned knee and still see them as her baby girl or boy. Would it not seem rational to go and look for them on skid row?

Are these not necessarily the right beliefs for the wounded people hearing these words. There is no right or wrong, only that which works and doesn’t work. What works sits with each individual. Can we in all honesty make righteous decisions about the rightness or the wrongness of anyone’s beliefs?

Where did the righteous come to believe in that premise in the first place? Did they bring it with them from birth as a cultural collective rule? We all know the answer to that; of course. And even if there is a truth to it, is it the truth in every case? Is it universal truth or a personal truth?

Will this blunt truth help?

What if there is no such thing as right or wrong, but only what works and what doesn’t work ? How would that change the whole concept of enabling?

Finally what is the difference between helping and enabling?

Your thoughts please.

Author: shawlj

I am on new ground now, finally free from many decades of ‘taking care of business’. The letters behind my name became an anchor that I have finally broken free from. You have a standing invitation to walk with me here, where the living is easy and uncluttered.

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