If you have a loved one with a substance use disorder, you should avoid becoming an enabler or promoting codependency in your relationship. Codependent relationships include an imbalance where an enabler provides support for self-destructive behavior. Breaking this cycle sets the tone for a healthier relationship and can help your loved one avoid returning to drug and alcohol abuse. At Solution Based Treatment in Murrieta, CA, we help clients recognize and avoid enabling or codependent relationships so our clients can make the most of addiction treatment.
What Is an Enabler?
An enabler ignores the negative consequences caused by another person’s behavior. Enablers may take responsibility for someone with an addiction. Although they mean well, this behavior creates codependency and allows the person to avoid addiction treatment and the consequences of their actions.
Signs You Might Be an Enabler
Here are three common signs of enabling behavior.
Ignoring Problematic Behavior
Even if you disagree with how your significant other acts, you may turn a blind eye to their actions. Do you avoid talking to your loved one instead of confronting them regarding problematic behavior? Sometimes, those with substance abuse disorders act erratically, intimidating the enabling person.
For example, perhaps you have a partner struggling with alcohol use disorder. They deny spending money on alcohol, but you find a receipt for the local liquor store. Instead of confronting them, you throw the receipt away to avoid a shouting match.
Providing Financial Assistance
Many people occasionally help out friends and family financially. An enabler may give their loved one money regularly, allowing them to continue purchasing drugs or alcohol. Ultimately, this can contribute to a deeper slide into substance misuse.
For example, you give your adult sibling money to pay their rent regularly. You do this because you love them and want to help. However, it allows them to become dependent on you instead of learning to manage their money.
An enabler frequently makes excuses about the actions of their loved one. Although you want to protect them from consequences, this behavior creates codependency and may prevent your loved one from seeking addiction treatment.
For example, your partner doesn’t show up for work, and their employer calls. You tell them your partner is sick when they are just hungover from drinking too much. Some parents may do this for their children to avoid negative consequences at school. Although you want to help, acting on your loved one’s behalf merely saves them from consequences they may need to change their behavior.
As long as you keep covering for them, there is no incentive for your loved one to change their behavior.
What Are the Characteristics of an Enabler?
Enablers may find themselves providing regular financial support and trying to control the actions of someone close to them with a substance use disorder. To give people the independence and space they need to make their own decisions, you may also need to undergo counseling sessions. You can start by holding your loved one accountable and avoiding hurtful language when you do confront them.
Here are some characteristics of enablers:
- Staying quiet to avoid conflict
- Denying the seriousness of your loved one’s substance use disorder
- Repressing your own emotions
- Wishfully thinking the problem will solve itself
- Criticizing and blaming your partner for their substance use disorder
- Taking responsibility for your loved one’s actions
- Rescuing your loved one from negative consequences
- Taking extreme measures to protect your loved one
- Treating your significant other as a child
Addiction Treatment at Solutions Based Treatment in Murrieta, CA
At Solution Based Treatment in Murrieta, CA, we offer medical detox treatment, partial hospitalization, and sober living programs. Contact us at 833.999.1941 to find out how to stop being an enabler and break the cycle of codependency today.