by Anonymous

My Sister is an Enabler Her son is a 28 year old crack addict. He has been doing this since he was sixteen. He was just thrown out of Salvation Army for using. He is back at home. He told my sister he had a terminal disease, although he didn't follow up on treatment. He was out two nights, but when he wakes us she will baby him, feed him and give him gas money. I live here as well, along with her husband. We see the pattern, but she is afraid that if she throws him out he will die. I am so upset, that I want to move. She won't listen. I love my sister, and she needs me. I am at a loss as what to do, because my sister keeps making excuses for him. Please help.


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Sep 13, 2015
Held Hostage by Mom's Enabling
by: Hostage

Extremely Frusrated, I am in the same boat. My mom is 88 and has enabled my nephews for years. She is the last one in the family to hang on, and she is mad at the rest of us because we don't help to financially support and clean up the boys' messes anymore.

We tell her she does not have to keep helping them, but then she gets very angry and accuses us of throwing them out in the street.

Drugs, jail, prison, violence, emergency rooms, deception, mental illness. But my nephews are adults, and by law we cannot force them into rehab programs where they can grow and become self-supporting.

Mom is paying rent, fixing cars, paying insurance and giving them grocery cards. This is money she should be saving for personal and medical care at the end of her life or the family will be burdened with it. We don't think Medicaid will take care of everything, and we hate to see her go into a low-care facility.

Mom has been told she is enabling but she keeps saying, "There is a fine line between enabling and helping." She is way over that line but will not admit that what she is doing is harmful, not only to herself but to the boys (who are in their 30s and 40s now). She is too frightened they will go back to drugs or die if she lets go. Our family is at a loss as to how to handle this.

Any resources that would help us in breaking through her emotional thinking, as well as instructing us in how to protect ourselves financially, would be welcome.

I am going to suggest we go for family counseling, but I am 99% sure Mom will not go. She does not like to be told that she is wrong, and she has invested so much in this. It doesn't help that her judgment is getting shaky at her advanced age.

We feel stuck and held hostage.

Aug 11, 2015
Learn the do's and don'ts of enabling behavior
by: Don


Thanks for this post. It gives me a chance to remind everyone that we can get caught up in enabling the enabler. By trying to "get through" to them in the same way they try to "get through" to their addicted loved one we can get just as caught up in the cycle as they are.

I will be interested to hear the discussion on this. Does anyone have any experience with the futility of "enabling the enabler?" Have you found a way out? What works? What doesn't work?

Thanks again for the post,

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