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What Is An Enabler>Part 3 of 4

Updated on April 14, 2011



The enabler versus the needy one "quite a scenerio"

I would like to begin this hub by decribing the charactoristics of an enabler; One who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior by providing excuses/justification or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior thus promoting denial. So what is denial? Denial is a psychological defence mechanism in which a confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existance of the problem or reality. Refusal to admit the truth or reality of something unpleasent. It is also a way to avoid conflict, disagreements or disapproval from others.

An enabler provides a sanctuary for the needy. They avoid conflict by blaming someone else for the resolution of the problem (so and so said rather than I realize you have a problem) because the enabler does'nt want to appear as "the corrector/in opposition to". They themselves cannot admit to being in disagreement with the needy one because they are afraid they may cause more harm than good thereby deleting themselves from the whole debilitating scenerio. The problem with this is the needy one perceives this person as one who "is in agreement with their actions". The enabler allows the needy one to have this agreement so as not to feel alone/abandoned.

An enabler is actually keeping themselves on the same level as the needy one so as to make the needy one feel they have someone to relate/understands their behavior. Rocking the boat would prove otherwise (so the enabler thinks). An enabler promotes this type of behavior so the needy one doesn't feel abandoned or unloved. They need the needy one to trust them, be someone they can count on, not feel rejected by society. The truth is..the needy one needs to know/come to realization that society does reject such behavior.

The enabler "feels sorry" for the needy one even though their behavior is unexceptable. They want to be "someone they can turn to". They feel responsible for their well-being. They become "the controller of the situation/circumstance and the outcome". The outcome should be more favorable but the enabler doesn't have much faith in the needy one to do it for themselves. The enabler feels the needy one is incapable/dependant. In most cases the needy one has proven they can't be counted on to acheive so the enabler takes "the reigns". They actually put the very life of the needy one "in their hands"and take "full" responsibility for them. They believe their survival depends on them thereby the needy one becomes as weak as the enabler.

The enabler and the needy one thrive on this disfunction by manipuating one another. One on the recieving line and the other on the giving in hopes for recovery. Sadly in this scenerio there is no recovery. The problem is litterally being "swept under the rug and ignored". Nothing really gets resolved. A lot can be lost with nothing gained because both sides aren't "willing to address the problem". Unfortunity little healing will occure.

One can never resolve a problem as long as they appear to be in agreement with it. There is no reason to change/resolve. One will not realize without opposition. If one is made to feel comfortable, one will surly remain that way.

Don't get me enabler offers hope.......but without a clear understanding of it or it's benefits. So be wise and be strong because you may be able to offer someone A Better Tomorrow!


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    • profile image

      sukie 7 years ago

      How about a friendship between two women, one of which is a historically enabling wife (widow) and a very, lifelong,independent woman!!! How do I (the later) deal with the former and remain friends!?!?! Please give me some suggestions!

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 7 years ago from Michigan

      TimeHealsAll, This whole series could have been a very detailed description of my friend. You laid it out so clearly. I'd appreciate your prayers for her and for me in deciphering my role in my friend's life. I have spoken straight forward many times .. but my friend does not hear me. Sometimes it makes her mad when I speak the truth in love. As I commented on Part 1 of this series, It's crazy-making to me. Thank you for a well written Hub, may God use it to help people know when to give and when to withold 'help.'

      God Bless You!


    • TimeHealsAll profile image

      TimeHealsAll 7 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I could'nt have said it better Dave! The needy one is already in satan's grip and when the enabler ignors it and keeps giving in, satans foot-hold will become stronger. Satans purpose is to keep/remain in sin. Thank you brother!

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Time Heals All: I have a difficult time in accepting that someone could be so weak minded, that they can not decide for themselves and need and or rely upon someone else, to lead them around like this.

      It is difficult enough, when we have satan, whispering to us to do this or that and not know which way is up. If the person in need, would only turn to God, He would direct them in a positive direction, but patience is one's best reward when dealing with God.

      The enabler is plain and simply satan's advocate, trying to move the needy farther and farther away from God, and the more one listens and gives in, the stronger the foot-hold satan gets.

      Brother Dave.

    • TimeHealsAll profile image

      TimeHealsAll 7 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      You are absolutly right brother no body. It is really sad when someone believe's they are helping when they are actually hurting/hindering that person's growth and well being. Being raised in a disfunctional family can effect major areas of ones life. Having to figure everything out on your own is quite confusing and can be misleading as well because you've never had a healthy role model to follow. It's literally the blind leading the blind. Being a wise and loving/caring parent is essential to a child's future in regard to their well being. I'm glad you enjoyed my series! God bless you brother!

    • TimeHealsAll profile image

      TimeHealsAll 7 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I have learned so much through experiance and I'm sure that it was in God's plan so I could share it with so many who are struggling with these very issue's. Without trial's we would'nt be able to do just this. There are two moto's I stand firm upon; You must go through the valley to stand upon the mountain and growth only happens through trial. I love you too sis!

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 7 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Enabling someone's dysfunction is casting a stumbling block against a weaker brother. It is sin. It must be confessed and forsaken. For example one dependant on drugs and the other makes excuses for them or giving them money to do it. One person that is bed bound by obesity and another feeds them cases of chocolate. One feeds off another's insecurity or manipulates their life all that is sin. The Holy Spirit will convict of sin and the offending party must repent and forsake that behavior. Scripture is the guiding light and sole rule of truth and practice. If someone has been wronged one must lay that sin before the other and clear the air. Then it is up to the offending person to repent and forsake such behavior. If that person refuses to do that one takes one or two others and if he listens you have gained your brother. If he doesn't you must withdraw fellowship from him. I can see if either party doesn't realize that this relationship is dysfunctional and another person (with love) comes along side to lovingly expose the sin. Weaker brothers need counsel, but willfully rebellious persons who do not respond to counsel will need space and time away from that fellowship to have the Lord reach them in another way. Satan's will is to destroy fellowship and unity in the church. He wants to stop ministry and he knows that two or three praying will be highly effective before the Lord. He wants disunity, disharmony, distrust. Christ causes unity where in the world this would be impossible. All will know His disciples because they love one another. This has been a great series, sister. Love you.

    • Judah's Daughter profile image

      Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Amen again! If a needy person relies on their enabler and the enabler allows them to, it's bound to get worse. A needy person can really be controlling with their neediness, just as an enabler can be controlling in their care-taking. Needy people have a way of manipulating their enablers (i.e. I don't know what I'd do without you; nobody cares but you, etc.), putting a false sense of responsiblity and guilt upon them. Each has to set boundaries to get well, and if both don't do it, one has to. Life doesn't have to be so 'enmeshed' between them. People who don't know how to set boundaries and/or take responsibility for what's happening in their lives will stay in a perpetual state of codependency...from this relationship to the next.

      There's a great book and workbook out there I highly recommend called "Boundaries" by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

      Keep on sharing and helping everyone you can, sis! Love you!


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