My mother the enabler

by Melissa
(Michigan)

My 22 year old brother is a heroin addict. He lives with my mother and she supports him. She buys him clothes and cigarettes. Lets him use her phone and vehicles, and gives him money when he "needs" it. He has stolen property from people we don't know, as well as jewelry and other items from family. He is no longer welcome at several family members homes because of this. My mother constantly defends him and believes him when he says that he didn't do these things.

He was supposed to leave for rehab this Friday but somehow it got pushed back two weeks. When I asked my mother what would happen if he didn't go to rehab on this Friday she said he would be out. Now, it's he will be out in two weeks. It seems he can never do anything that will make her see how far gone he really is. I am having trouble dealing with this. I find that I don't want to be around her because she now lies about his behavior. Is there something I can do to make her see how much she is hurting herself by doing these things?

My brother gets angry very easily now. He has gotten violent with our father. He knocked out one of his teeth. Still my mother takes his side. It has gotten to the point where my dad is ready to leave. I fear that she is addicted to enabling him as much as he is addicted to the drug. What can I do? I feel so lost.

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Jan 03, 2017
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Same Boat
by: Anonymous

I'm also pretty sure my mom is addicted to enabling. My brother is a 30 year alcoholic. He has driven her to financial ruin and is emotionally and verbally abusive to her. It's hard to watch. I've tried taking her to alanon as well as decreasing her contact with us. None of that bothers her. The relationship with my addicted brother is the only important thing. Please do what you need to do to stay healthy. That is the only thing you can do.

Aug 29, 2013
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addict/worthless
by: Anonymous

I am sorry for what you are going through. My nephew is a heroin addict. My brother is an enabler. He is a really good man. Very kind and very intelligent . He keeps giving him money cars a place to live. And I have helped him with his son for some time. What I see is a kid who aside from being a drug addict is just a really shitty person who cares nothing about my brother and only agrees to do certain things when his drug use is threatened. I have told my nephew that he needs rehab. He said he was having me killed. My brother said her must go to rehab again for the like fourth time. THis kid is a lost cause I am sorry to say. It angers me to no end how he used his father. My brother is blind to how he really is. I feel like I have to police him constantly. And I do. I don't care what he says . He is a terrible self centered spoiled child. He is a dealer and therefore the lowest of the low. I won't rest until he is in prison or a facility. I have his number and he knows it . I hope he gets what he deserves. I feel like I should move away I love my brother very much. I have no feeling left for his kid and everyone in our family detests him and doesn't want him around not just because he is an addict but because he is just a creepy weird and intolerable person.

Sep 30, 2012
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i can relate!!
by: Anonymous

thank you for posting your situation! i am also dealing with family who enables my meth addicted cousin (who has 5kids she doesn't take care of btw) who is a known liar, manipulator, narcissist, poor mother, drug dealer well you name it. i see how she is and what it has done to her children. but yet they still put her before the children by enabling her by covering up for her. she is violating her probation (i told them about it) and instead of blaming her and being angry with her, i was blamed. she just got a scolding and now they keep her at their house, as if keeping an eye on her will stop her from her addiction. im considering cutting them off as well because they enable her when the kids are the ones losing in the end. talking to them is like talking with the big elephant in the room no one can mention. and when she and her continued addiction, lies and manipulation is brought up, be prepared to be attacked. she went to jail and got out only because she lied and made a sob story to a domestic abuse pro bono layer organization. prominsing to change and that she was a victim. she lied about it and im over it. thank you for sharing your story because i was googling and googling for someone who is going through the same thing......

Sep 02, 2012
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To Melissa
by: Anonymous

Thanks for sharing about what's going on with you, because it is happening (and has happened) to many families where addiction is present. You are certainly not alone.
You are right when you have thoughts and feeling that she may be addicted to the enabling behavior as much as your brother is addicted to heroin. This is the nature of codependency.
There is not quick fix for this...no over night cure (same is true for the addict). But there is hope and there is help.
I encourage you to educate yourself on the dynamics of codependency- gain an understanding that they are just as powerless over being addicted to the enabling and the addict as the addict is to the drug. That way you can "separate" your Mom from her illness of being codependent.
You can also share with your mom things that you are learning about it - but only in terms of how all of this is efecting you. That way you are not preaching, scolding, shaming, or begging her to change her behaviors.
If you relate it to how it's impacting you and what you plan to do about it, it may help her have the courage to look at her own behaviors. Remember - most people don't like being told what to do or given advice unless they ask for it :)
You can begin to set boundaries with your Mom and how much you are exposed to these dynamics. You can make statements such as "I am here for the both of you, but only in healthy ways, and this is unhealthy and I choose not to be a part of it"
You can offer resources (such as where to get help) you can share things you've learned, and you can be supportive if they choose to work on their issues, and you can also keep firm boundaries if they choose not to. Limited contact, no engaging in merry-go-round conversations that revolve around problems, issues, drama and chaos related to the addict's behavior.
There is also a great website for 12-step programs families of addicted loved ones. It's called Families Anonymous and they have a lot of literature available there that addresses this issues.
I have been attending F.A. for about 7 or 8 years and it has helped me immensely. You could investigate the area you live in and see if they have any FA meetings there. Good Luck and let us know how it goes.
Angie Carter

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