If you have tried unsuccessfully on your own to deal with  either denial or enabling (or both),
    or have tried to help someone else, and feel in need of assistance, there is help here to help
    you find long-term resolution for your problems - and assist you in your Emotional, Mental
    and Spiritual Healing.
    Klaas Tuinman
    Deerfield, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada, 2000-2020
Healing & Empowerment:
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When life hurts - there is immediate
help for long term hope
    Why do people keep on enabling? In part, it is due to those admirable human qualities
    of caring, and hoping, and wanting so much for that person to snap out of it, and heal and
    recover. So they see what they're doing as attempts at helping. But they're over their heads,
    without fully realizing it. Only when the problem has reached a critical stage (has not gone
    away, but gotten worse), do they think that they should do something. By then, however,
    denial has already set in and it will be much harder to help
    Often, they act this way, because they do not know much about such behaviours: or reject
    (deny) what they do know; they don't want to deal with it, and they “play along”, and thus
    enabling the person to continue with it. Families' (partners') non-acceptance (denial) of the
    problem does not help the people with behavioural problems. Families may think they are
    helping them by protecting them. However, they soon realize that making excuses
    won't help.

    Making excuses, rationalizing and trying to keep the problem hidden only lead to more
    trouble. The family (or partner) may attribute the behaviour to a number of things: a bad
    childhood, marital problems, or other everyday problems that may happen to everybody,
    but that particular person just can't cope with it.

    Or .  .  . they too, may re-label it as an illness or disorder, and thus remove responsibility
    (and  choice of other options) for the behaviour from that individual.

                       It is NOT an illness or disorder: it is a CHOICE!

    This in turn prevents him/her from receiving the proper help (and responses), but this
    also gives support to the denial system. If you are allowing that behaviour to continue you
    are an Enabler.

    Not only that, you become an accomplice in the con-game. Denial and Enabling in most
    cases also result in Codependence.

    Addiction counsellors, and often "sponsors" to alcohol "addicts", are often caught in being
    "enablers", too. They know that they are doing so - but they continue, because at the same
    time they are  talking to that person, about things they could give a try at: pointing out
    underlying  issues that may have caused this and are perpetuating it. They do this in the
    hope of getting their client/sponsee to see the light and take that first step back into the
    light. It works; but not with everyone. I have been "caught" in that situation many times:
    because I refuse to give up on  people. There is always hope, and time . . . we never
    know when the seeds we plant may take root.
    As commonly used, enabling refers to the other participants in the "Let's pretend"   - their
    part is the "I'm pretending he/she isn't. . . " one.  In in this usage, enabling  is making
    excuses: a case where the others accept the lying, and play along as if it wasn't so: a game
    of pretend;  - a very sick game - actually, it's their  own form  of denial. This “enables”, or
    facilitates, or makes it possible for, the one with the problem to “get away with it”.   It
    used to be called “sweeping things under the rug or carpet”. It is also known as "cover-up".

    When we compare this to the other, positive use of the word "enable" as the process of
    helping someone learn to function better and make better choices, and engage in more
    functional behaviours, while healing or recovering from a challenge - or in some cases,
    help them adapt to the reality of a challenge that may be permanent - we can readily see
    how the wider sense gets lots in the restrictive form.

    Returning to the other, restrictive form: a frequently asked question is: why do
    people "enable":   quite simply, because they love the addict/dysfunctional person (in the
    case of alcoholism, the some-time affable, clever and witty alcoholic), they act  to protect
    them by covering for them: doing the work that they don't get done, paying the bills that
    they don't pay, rescuing them from their scrapes with the law and other incidents, and
    generally taking up the responsibilities they have abandoned.

    The others cover for them by making excuses: For example, in  alcoholism, "S/he can't
    come in to work today, s/he's got a, err, virus . . .  We've got to get him/her out of jail,
    s/he'll lose his job! Then what  will we do . . .  It was my fault, officer,   I said some
    things I should not have said . . .
    Please note: enabling is not only just connected to alcoholism: it can apply to any
    inconsiderate, anti-social, dysfunctional activity, habit, etc.

    By doing these things, they are protecting the addict/perpetrator from the consequences
    of their actions.  S/he never has to feel the real pain caused by his/her drinking.

    These well-meaning, but people rush in to put "pillows" under him/her so s/he doesn't
    hurt her/himself in the fall. Consequently, the addict/perpetrator never finds out how it
    feels to fall. Together, they become Codependents.

    Thus, by the time the "disease" has gotten to the crisis point, the "addict" has developed a
    support system of family and friends. These people that are close to the person who is
    developing an unacceptable behaviour pattern, become adept at overlooking or avoiding
    the evidence.

    This negative for of enabling is a delusion - with everyone pretending that
    the "problem" doesn't exist! Although the dysfunctional behaviour (substance abuse,
    or other) has placed them (in their minds) in a helpless and dependent position, the
    addict/perpetrator can continue to believe s/he is still independent because s/he has been
    rescued from his/her troubles, and absolved from ownership and responsibility, by her/his
    well-meaning family, friends, co-workers, employers and sometimes clergymen and

    The roles these enablers play to "help" the addict/perpetrator can be just as obsessive and
    harmful as the alcoholic's drinking.  With these enabling devices in place, the addict/
    perpetrator is free to continue in the progression of his/her dysfunction, with her/his
    denial intact, until s/he perhaps reaches the point of hitting bottom, at which point even
    the most dedicated addict/dysfunctional perpetrator must finally admit there is a problem.
    But there is no way for them to ever hit bottom when it's always covered with pillows.

    Enabling hinders someone from admitting to, and changing a self-harmful behaviour like
    an addiction, self-neglect, or a disabled true-Self, by not confronting them respectfully.

    The line between short-term compassion and long-term enabling can be hard to see.
    Has anyone ever impeded your growth by withholding some important feedback about
    you? Have you ever been enabled and kept from growing and healing?
    Are you an enabler?

    It is better to become the other kind of enabler- the healing facilitation one.

facilitating the status quo for Addicts and Dysfunction:
Helping others avoid Ownership and Responsibility
Dawn Cove Abbey
Providing "Roadside Assistance" for your Journey through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From, "One! The Journey hOMe", the eBook by Klaas Tuinman M.A © 2007-20
Questions and comments welcomed.
    To "enable", means to activate, initiate, or make something possible,
    or to help someone function more capably through a personal challenge
    of some sort or kind - or to find, or provide something for them
    that will help them do so (including "bad" habits and addictions).

    "Enable" is one of those words in our language that has a somewhat
    broad range  of meaning, and thus like so many others that are that
    way, become indistinct,   and frequently misused (and/or
    misunderstood). Mostly, their "meaning" is meant to become evident
    in the context of the sentence - yet they often fail to do so.

    The word "enabling is a perfect example of the danger (and limiting
    aspects of  "labels", because there are often more than one possible
    meanings of it. Related article: Communication-Language).

    "Enable" in restrictive form - a "label". In recent years the word
    "enable" has virtually become more and more like a label, a
    restrictive one that is used when speaking about, or dealing with
    addictions and dysfunctional lifestyles. And the problem with labels
    is that quite quickly after adopting them, most people can't see past
    them, and thus lose the wider, more positive sense.
    In that context, its meaning describes reactions and actions that
    "over-look",  or "excuse" the activity or behaviours - it is also used
    as a synonym for "rescuing",  in that context, and those who do so
    are referred to as enablers.