In my last post, I wrote about Jessica’s manipulation of her parents and how they consistently gave in to her demands, allowing her disruptive and destructive behaviour to continue.
By accepting that behaviour and not challenging their daughter, Jessica’s parents enabled her for many years. They posed no consequences for her and set the bar very low in terms of their expectations—and Jessica continued to live up to exactly the standard that they set.
If an addict of any kind is not given consequences for that behaviour, what incentive do they have to stop? If there is no incentive, they will likely continue using the addiction for a very long time. Jessica, and many addicts like her, are currently being enabled by parents or partners or siblings or friends who don’t want to make waves, who just want to get along. These loved ones would rather allow themselves to be manipulated than to stand up to the bullying behaviours from the addicts they love.
But how can enabling ever be a loving act toward the addict, who will only be able to become healthy when the addiction stops? And whose needs are the enablers really meeting when they simply give in, rather than doing everything in their power to assist the addict in receiving the help he or she needs?
If you are a loved one who is being manipulated by an addict, please consider getting some support for yourself, so that you can discover what has been holding you back from behaving in a healthier ways.
Love them enough—and respect yourself enough—to learn how to set and maintain the very boundaries your addict desperately needs in order to recover from addiction.