Those of us who have lived with addiction in our homes or relationships know how hard it can be to deal with someone else’s addiction. We often enable addicts’ behaviors, even though we care about them and want them to get better. Why do we do enable each other?
It often comes down to fear. Sometimes we’re afraid of how the person will react if we try to stop them from using. When the relationship is abusive, they might threaten us with violence if we don’t do as they ask- sometimes when we are being abused, we try to placate them as much as possible.
Sometimes we are embroiled in our own addictions and can’t extricate ourselves from them, let alone help someone else to. Often our relationships are codependent and addictive in nature. Many of us are love/sex addicts. In continuing our patterns, we’re often enabling multiple addictions at the same time.
When in these kinds of relationships, we might know we’re in an unhealthy situation but are afraid to let go. The idea of no longer having them in our lives can feel excruciating, and we’re so afraid of losing them that we enable their addictive behaviors to keep the relationship.
Addictions in relationships often go hand in hand with mental health issues. We might be dealing with multiple illnesses at the same time. When we are in this place, we don’t necessarily have the clarity we would have otherwise. We feel lost, confused, sad and in distress. It can feel virtually impossible to help others quit their addictions when we’re suffering ourselves. When we stay in these toxic situations, our mental health often deteriorates, and our addictions grow worse.
What are some of the ways we enable each other?
You might buy your partner his drug of choice when he demands it. You might choose to go out drinking with him, and even let him drive drunk. You might turn a blind eye and be in denial about his problems. You might choose to stay in the relationship while he continues to disrespect you, allowing him to take advantage of your support.
We enable other people when we allow them to continue hurting us and themselves, when we allow them to lie to us, manipulate, coerce, or otherwise control us. When they continue to cross our boundaries and we keep letting them, we are enabling them. Enabling is anything that we do that allows, perpetuates, exacerbates or contributes to addicts’ continuing their addictive behavior.
Coping with addictions means dealing with all kinds of interpersonal issues. We’re here to help. Call (833) 801-LIVE.