Thank you to A Women's Voice for sharing the message of HOPE...There IS HOPE...Prodigal Hope!
I recently finished reading Diane Viere and Elaine Altman-Eller’s first e-booklet in the series Putting the Spotlight On. At first blush, I didn’t know for sure if this article applied to me or my life. Both of these women have had adult children with addictions. This e-booklet is written about the role they have played as enablers in their adult children’s lives. Although, I do not have children addicted to either drugs or alcohol, when I read this article I soon realized that being an enabler does not necessarily have to do with serious addictions like these women have faced with their sons nor does it have to do only with our children.
Reading their words made me realize that we can enable numerous people as they engage in self-destructive behavior. In reading the characteristics of what it means to be an enabler, I recognized that I have also had the habit of engaging in this type of behavior. For example, there have been people in my life that have been verbally, psychologically, and emotionally abusive toward me. Rather than set the proper boundaries at the time, I made excuses for their poor or negative behavior and tried to rationalize why they were behaving so badly. This is what enablers do.
According to The Sights and Sounds of Enabling, the first article in this series, there is a fine line between helping and enabling. When you choose to help others, you set healthy boundaries. When you choose to help others, you allow them to be responsible and accountable for their own lives and the decisions they make. When you choose to help others, you empower them. Enablers get caught up in the drama of what is going on and end up becoming part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Diane and Elaine explain this very effectively in their well-written e-booklet. They discuss the process of letting go as;
* supporting, not fixing
*permitting another to face reality
*not taking responsibility for them
*admitting the outcome is out of your hands
According to this article, “Letting go removes my hands from the impossible and allows God to do the possible”. It goes on to further say that “enabling ties God’s hands from answering our prayers”.
I very much enjoyed reading the first article in this series on enabling. It stresses the need to realize that we can’t change others and that change may be very painful. When we arrive at the ultimate need for change, it is so aptly put in this quote, “In other words, for each family member, the pain of staying the same must become greater than the pain of change before change will occur.” If there is one thing that really hit home for me, it is the above comment. I’ve been there, I know. The main thing that I discovered, is that, I could only change myself but I had to get to that very painful spot to decide I had no other choice. I think Diane and Elaine got there too. How about you?
This is one great e-booklet and well worth reading even if you don’t have adult children with addictions. You might luck out and find something in it that applies to you in your life just like I did. I refer to it as reading between the lines.