Funny thing about enabling, at the time we think we are helping, but in reality we are feeding the monster. Oh yes, every time I run interference in someone else’s life, every time I do something that prevents them from facing their own consequences, I feed their brokenness, every time I do something for someone else that they can and should do for themselves, I feed their brokenness……..and at the same time I am feeding mine.
You know what my brokenness is? Fear, arrogance, pride and denial. I am afraid that if I don’t jump in and save the day, that the life I have envisioned for them and for me will never happen. They might go to jail, lose their job, lose their car, be homeless, won’t have anything to eat, or they might end their relationship with me, etc. Sometimes I am afraid because their stupid decisions not only cause them negative consequences, but they cause me negative consequences as well. Arrogance comes into play when I think, and make them believe, that they can’t handle their own problems as well as I can handle them for them. Pride is fear that everyone will know. What will people think of them and what will they think of me? If I don’t admit it, if I fix everything to make it better, then it is not true. The reality is that my denial keeps me chained to the problem.
My “good intentions” is to save them from a calamity that they created by choices that they made, so that I can help them turn their life around. The problem with that, is that, “My good intentions” is not what turns their life around. I am powerless to turn their life around. All of my hopes, dreams and prayers for them will not make them change unless they want to change. Nothing that I do, or that I do not do, will make them change if they do not want to change.
We did not reach this point of chaos in our lives by a bunch of weird coincidences. Our choices, theirs to mess up, ours to fix or cover up, is what put us on this path that wrecks both of our lives. For most of us, this is not our first redo. We have repeated this behavior over and over again, believing that this time things will be different. Our “good intentions” have not once altered the course of the path of destruction. It may delay it from time to time, but we are still walking toward a dangerous cliff. The truth is, that we cannot prevent them from walking off that dangerous cliff. But, we do have a choice if we want to walk off that cliff with them or not.
Sure it hurts. Sure it is painful to watch them self-destruct, but what choice do when have? It is also pain living this way with them. Their life belongs to them and our life belongs to us. We can hang on and live in a revolving door of fear, pain, and chaos or we can let go, and let them live in it by themselves. Back in the old days we said that can let go and have a short term pain for the chance of a long term gain or we can just hang on in constant pain.
It is not easy to let go, and they definitely won’t like it either. They will whine and try to make us feel guilty because we aren’t bailing them out again. They will get angry and display all sorts of antics trying to suck us back in. But they don’t want our help to change, they want our help to support and feed their problem.
Our relationship was convoluted and complicated to say the least. Tying to figure out when I was helping and when I was enabling was confusing at times. My sponsor taught me to look at my motives. Was I interfering with their consequences from choices that they made? I am trying to do something for them that they should be doing for themselves? Am I doing the right thing for the right reason? Where, and how, am I better off in this situation? Am I doing what is best for me?
Enabling is nothing more than riding the merry-go-round of chaos and insanity with them. Nothing will change for us as long as we stay on their merry-go-round.