I am an enabler that has been abused and want to stop

by Debbie
(Naples Fl)

AGE 46 Mother of 2 sons.Their dad never had time for them so I stepped in and made up the love for them. I just left a 29 yr marriage and met the man of my prayers. He pointed out to me that I am an enabler, and I feel that's true. I have been working for over a year on how to reverse the damage. My 21 yr son is depressed, has anxiety and can not even begin to try to find a job. How do you help when you have to let go and step back at the same time? Facing problems with child support too? help someone.

My other son has health problems and needs $2000 to get his surgery and may lose his life to infection without the surgery. Man what is going on with this world when you are an American and can not get surgery. someone out there know what to do debbieann1964@gmail.com let me know thank you

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Dec 25, 2010
Adult Children
by: Don

Hi Debbie,

You said an awful lot with just a few sentences. I want to respond to the question about "how to help when you have to step back".

If you are their Enabler then stepping back IS helping. Your "boys" are young men now, and they need to use their own abilities-to-respond to their own challenges. The word should be hyphenated: Response-ability, because they HAVE the ability to respond in whatever way they choose.

Nature knows this better than anyone...

For example, no one messes with a mother bear and her cubs! Because everyone knows that momma bear will fight to the death to protect them...but when they come of age, that same mother will run those youngsters up a tree and then run off; leaving them to fend for themselves...Her job is over. It now becomes their response-ability to survive... and they do!!

If she defied this principle by continuing to do for them what they are able to do for themselves she would be signing their death warrant.

"Standing back" means you can suggest things WHEN THEY GENUINELY DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. For instance, you can suggest they start by calling the local health dept to find out what to do about the surgery and what resources are available...but to step in and do it for them would be "Enabling".

If you can't help but do it for them...you are addicted to Enabling and need to get help for yourself.

Keep coming back!

Take Care,

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