Enabler who works in the helping profession

by Donna
(Louisiana)

I think I do pretty well in my profession in trying to avoid enabling others. I've seen first hand with many of my clients that they must learn to do for themselves - for it to be lasting and effective.

I will say however that I've always been the fighter for the underdog. I am realizing that I can fight for the underdog, that I would rather teach them or encourage them to fight for themselves.

With my family, however, the story is different. I come from a very dysfunctional family background. I am the oldest so somehow I've convinced myself that I must be the caretaker. I have 2 brothers and 2 sistes. Both of my brothers are alchoholics, one is functioning and one is not. The non-functioning alcoholic brother is also a drug abuser. One of mys sisters, my baby sister, is a drup addict and stays in abusive relationships with men. My other sister - though she does not have any addictions - has her own mental illness of bipolar. My father was controlling and a bully throughout our lives as well as an emotional manipulator. My mom was an enabler and is now deceased. Myself, I am addicted to cigarettes and enabling others.

The worst of the ones - my drug addicted sister and my drug addicted/alcoholic brother have allowed drugs/alcohol to shatter their lives. Of course, being the enabler that I am, I feel sorry for them the most. I try to be there for them. I do things for them. For instance, I have been paying my brother's light bill for months now. I am tired of it. I am tired of helping them, being there for them, when they do nothing on their own to improve their lives.

I am at the point that for my own mental health, I have to distant myself from them. Of course, I don't want to be cold-hearted, but I have to back away.

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