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#62224 - 06/15/06 08:11 PM What is an enabler?
Rayne Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 23
I am trying to support and work out things with my MS husband, however, I've read somewhere that one should not enable the survivor. Can someone explain that to me so that I will be aware of what it is and does. I want to help my husband, but I don't want to just let him get away with everything.

Thanks!

Rayne

_________________________
Rayne

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#62225 - 06/15/06 08:25 PM Re: What is an enabler?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Rayne,

Without seeing the passage that's not clear to me. My first thought is that the author means that a survivor has to make the hard decisions himself and has to keep to them; this cannot be done for him, and allowing him to violate boundaries and endlessly play the "abuse excuse" card doesn't help him at all. We really do have to see that recovery is something that requires a serious and engaged commitment of our will, love and emotional resources, including things like watching the alcohol, sticking with therapy appointments, and avoiding possibly compromising situations.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#62226 - 06/17/06 01:14 AM Re: What is an enabler?
Rustam Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 470
Loc: UK
Hi Rayne,

Enabling behaviour is about not holding someone responsible for his or her actions. If for example a parent bails out their adult child every time they get into debt, they may be encouraging the overspending, because their child doesn’t have to face the consequences of their actions. The parents behaviour then enables the child to be irresponsible. The parent with the best of intentions continues to encourage the behaviour even though it causes conflict in the relationship, the conflict can end up being a big part of the relationship, which helps neither one.

I guess for partners of survivors its about having clear boundaries, if both agree that such and such needs to happen and the survivor is only paying lip service to the agreement, using excuses or blaming the partner, then the partner would be enabling the survivor by saying oh well he is suffering and I will let him off the hook, even though this makes the partner angry and unhappy.

Peter.


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#62227 - 06/17/06 07:42 AM Re: What is an enabler?
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Rayne,

I think another aspect to enabling is when a partner or spouse makes excuses for and allows bad behavior of any kind, especially the addictions such as alcoholism, pornography, sexual acting out with others, etc.

Hope our answers have helped to clarify things a bit for you.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#62228 - 06/18/06 06:53 AM Re: What is an enabler?
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hi Rayne,

There is a difference between fault and responsibility and I think a lot of partners end up enabling the survivor somewhere in between.

I've posted it somewhere on this forum before, but the best example I have is of my partner at work. Say some inventory doesn't come in one day. That's not his fault-- it's the people on the other end of the delivery who messed it up. But it IS his responsibility to take care of that situation-- deal with angry customers, find other ways to get what the business needs, maybe start looking for other suppliers, etc. It wouldn't be very responsible of him if his boss showed up and he said, "Oh well we don't have any product but it's not my fault."

I expect him to take responsibility-- not blame-- for the ways that his CSA has affected our lives. I am not willing to take on any of those responsibilities for him, and I am not willing to be in a relationship where he won't take on those responsibilities.

I think that the specifics of "responsibility" and what that looks like are different for every situation. For him, it generally means he is choosing safe, healthy behaviors over self-destructive ones, and that he is learning how to be respectful, honest, and open about his own needs and feelings. These are things he could/would/should have learned how to do a long time ago, with less effort, but that truck never left the warehouse.

SAR


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#62229 - 06/18/06 04:31 PM Re: What is an enabler?
Rayne Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 23
Good points all. I've been dealing with some serious issues with my husbands, and at the end, I end up "forgiving" because of the fact thatI know he is having these issues because of the abuse. But then, when it happens again, I wonder if I am doing him a favor by somehow excusing it, or maybe he thinks that I am excusing it. It is like I set boundaries, and they get crossed. I want to find a fine line between understanding his pain and holding him responsible for his actions. I don't want him to think that he can get away with the things he does.

_________________________
Rayne

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