My husband and I have both been enabling our daughters! How do we stop?

by Joyce Baumia
(Michigan, U.S.A.)

We have two adult daughters whom we have been enabling finacially!We have given them money,bought them furniture, appliances ect. which we never had asked them to pay us back! They were gifts! Now we are in a position where we are not always able to provide them with these things! We are seniors and both have health problems to deal with! Cost of the meds alone take a good bite out of our income, so now we give no interest loans to our daughters! Since we have been so good hearted in the past we have forgiven many of the loans which have never been repaid! but Now I feel our enabling is taking it's toll on our happiness! We are hurt and angry by their behaviors. We ask several times for them to pay us back when they can. But unfortunatley they never seem to have it to pay us back! Curious! since they are able to buy new phones, jewelry, clothing, fast food, excetera,so there is nothing left to give us! Well we will continue loving our girls, but for the finacial part, "Bank Mom and Dad" is no longer in business! When we offer advice, they say that they are adults and can make thier own decisions! OK! then! We will let them!, but when they fall on thier butts, they better learn to pick themselves up with their boot straps because we won't be there to help!

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Mar 08, 2012
We reap what we sow...
by: Don

Hi Joyce,

I'm sorry you are going through this but the way you put things suggests that you guys taught the girls how to treat you and now are hurt and upset that they are following your course outline.

I say it a lot around here: "We teach people how to treat us!" Why should we be so surprised when they oblige?

The GOOD NEWS: You can re-educate the girls (or women now) about the "new you". Teach them how to NOT be a victim, by not letting them victimize you. Teach them how to be accountable for their choices by not blaming them for doing what YOU taught them.

Let them know you made some mistakes in the past and that you will not be doing so in the future - then DON'T!

With enabling behavior we tend to vacillate between being too lenient then being to controlling; being too loving then being too resentful; being too giving and being too tight...ect.

Get out of the extremes...get some help, support, and education from people who have been there. Go to family support groups at church or in the community, see a counselor who knows about enabling, buy good books on the subject (hint, hint), go to the internet & Google the term 'enabling behavior', keep coming here and check out the Oasis @ Serenity Cafe' (see right panel)

Do whatever it takes, but be consistent in teaching them about the new you.


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