We all know them. That loving devoted parent who despite their child’s dangerous behaviors and absolute hate for life, stands by their side almost refusing to see any problem in their kids’ action.
They almost appear to cheer them on while they dangle off the edge and continuously hurt everyone around them.
They give them money and a place to live. They pat them on the back to comfort them after they, once again, manage to destroy what they have left of their life.
They feed them and support their habits with cash hand outs: every time they lose all their belongings they are there to re purchase it all over again.
At what point does love turn into toxic enabling behavior that’s hurting the addict?
From the outside looking in its so obvious. We see it all clear as day and we can’t wrap our heads around why these parents enable their child, or adult child in this case.
Lately I’ve had messages from countless family members stating that someone they love is an addict and that that persons mother is giving them money and allowing them a place to live. Literally feeding their addiction and refusing to acknowledge the harm they’re doing.
I feel this on so many levels. Someone I care about does this with her son. It’s hard to watch. It’s hard to know the right thing to do and to watch someone else do the opposite.
Recently her house was robbed because of the girl her son was dating. The girl set him up to help herself get out of some legal trouble. After he was arrested she and however many friends went to my loved ones house and took everything.
It was the week of thanksgiving, they took the food, her silverware, her TVs; her clothing and shoes. They took all types of random items worth nothing. They destroyed her house and her peace of mind and her sense of safety in her own home.
When we found out who did it I called my loved one and I said something along the lines of this being his fault and I hope she now realizes what she’s letting into her home.
She said it wasn’t his fault and had nothing to do with him, very adamantly stood up for him. The only thing she’ll change is not letting him bring friends to her house.
I worry about her. I genuinely worry about her safety and well being with him. Not only is he a sexual predator, and a monster, but he uses her. And she lets him.
It’s almost as if she’s in an abusive relationship and no one knows how to help her out of it.
He won’t change because he doesn’t have to. He doesn’t want better because for him this is living the life. He has all bills paid, a free room in a free house that she is leaving to him when she dies. This house is on a couple acres of absolutely beautiful land with a pool and all sorts of flowers that she has planted.
Within a year of him inheriting this house it’ll be a dump if he hasn’t sold it yet. That will be all that we have left of her and she’s leaving it to someone that will destroy it and not care about it at all.
He doesn’t work because she gives him money, pays his phone bill and keep his belly full and cigarette addiction met.
He knows that he doesn’t have to abide by any rules or laws because even when he’s arrested she’s there to keep money on his books and on the phone to stay in touch.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love her. She is 100% the reason I am where I am today. She paid my way through hair school and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without her.
But the difference is I was helping myself. You should always help those that want to help themselves there’s nothing wrong with that.
The issue is with supporting a grown adult that has no desire to do anything other then rob people and get high.
I feel like people see that I have succeeded so they come to me seeking these magical answers to help their loved ones.
The only thing that can help them is their desire to help theirselves.
It’s really unfair for you but you have to make some really hard decisions. You’ve got to decide at some point weather they are adding value to your life and if you will ever achieve all that you want and need to out of life by allowing them to stay in your life.
Your quality of life matters and whether you’re able to see it or not, the addict in your life is draining you.
All the love you have for them and show them isn’t and will never be enough to make them quit until they’re ready.
You have to set healthy boundaries for yourself and take care of your own physical and mental needs.
Ultimately the reason I quit using is because that life was so hard on me. I was always hungry, always cold, begging for places to sleep. Sitting around with people just hoping they’d pass me their pipe because I didn’t have money for my own.
You have to give them space to be unhappy enough to quit. I know it’s hard especially as a mother to let your kids fall. But they can’t get up if you are always there to pick them up.
Think of it like learning to walk. When your baby stumbles and falls you pretend not to notice so that they won’t cry for you. They get up, brush themselves off and keep going.
It’s the same concept. Be close enough to know what’s happening but allow them the room to get up on their own.
My best advice to anyone wondering how to help someone quit is for them to make their life as hard as possible. Do not fund ANYTHING for them. Don’t allow them to live with you.
I hear all the time “well if I don’t pay for these things they’ll rob and turn to prostitution.”
You realize how crazy that sounds right? They’ll do those things regardless.
I know my words sound harsh. I know if you’re still reading you’re thinking your situation is different and that your love will free them.
I’m saying all of this because someone has to.
You have to know that you’re hurting them as much as they’re hurting you.
This is a situation where tough love is absolutely necessary to save their life.
I speculate that some of these enablers feel that if they continue being the main sense of support that the addict will have no choice but to need them. Ultimately giving them a sense of power and security.
The addict is using you. There is no way to explain that other then to just put it out there. They’re using you because you’re easy to use and easy to manipulate and you’re a push over.
If you or someone you know is in a situation like this please know there is a way out. There are professionals trained specifically for your needs. Counseling is so beneficial and I truly believe essential to starting your life over.
Do you have any of your own tips for not enabling an addict? Drop your advice below in the comments, I’d love to hear from you