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How to deal with an enabler

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by Clairelouise84, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Clairelouise84

    Clairelouise84 Senior Contributor

    I know it's not nice to label people but my fiancées mother is an enabler. She might not realize it but she is constantly allowing her son to continue with his drug habit. She looks the other way no matter what and even gives him money to buy drugs. I know she will do anything for a quiet life but how do I make her realise that she is making herbon worse and actively preventing him from getting better?
  2. Femiluv

    Femiluv Active Contributor

    Is your partner getting help with his habit? In my experience, you can call someone an enabler but the user needs to come to a place where they actually recognize who is enabling them. After that initial recognition, hopefully they’re able to decide for themselves what they want that relationship with the enabler to be. Trying to cut off the enabler can lead to resentment on both sides.
    MrsJones likes this.
  3. juno

    juno Community Champion

    You can't change other people or their actions. Everyone has to take responsibility of themselves. You can do an intervention to let your partner know how harmful the behavior is and they will have to make their choices. If they want to continue on the path they are on and rely on his mother he will. If he doesn't want to loose you, then he will change. With an intervention it will be more than just you, so perhaps you can get his mother to get onboard with the group. My guess is that she doesn't really want to loose all her money in old age to feeding her son's drug habits either.
    trevermorgana likes this.
  4. TripleD123

    TripleD123 Community Champion

    I was an enable for years with my husband. I turned my head to his drug use to keep him. He was nicer high anyways, right? That's at least how I justified it in my mind. The problem is everyone always sympathized with me and felt bad that I had a drug addict husband. No one ever told me to wake up and stop allowing him to hurt himself and us. I think if someone would have come straight out to me and said "YOU ARE BEING AN ENABLER!" then I might have listened...Or maybe I wouldn't have, but I think if it had been spelled out to me in black and white I would have woken up, even a tiny bit.
    MrsJones likes this.
  5. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Have you spoken to her directly about his substance misuse? Perhaps if you let her know that you're concerned about his drug misuse, she might realize that not only is she encouraging/enabling him to continue his drug habit but that it's also having a negative effect on you - I think that may help her to open her eyes a little bit and reflect a bit more on what she's doing. I recommend speaking to her in private about it though, rather than when your fiance is there.
    MrsJones likes this.
  6. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    It's a difficult situation, no doubt. If your own mother is encouraging or tolerating your habit, it feels like what you are doing is harmless. How can you ever see clearly that your addiction to a certain substance is actually harming yourself and others, and interfering with your natural progress and development in life.
    I would say that some form of professional help might be in order. A neutral person who can shed a better light on the overall situation.
  7. pandabear1991

    pandabear1991 Active Contributor

    I have seen enablers and have a sister who is much like this herself. She would rather give into whatever is asked of her, instead of doing what is best for that person. Ya sure you can confront your future-mother-in-law but her willingness to listen and do something about it is ultimately up to her. If your fiance nor you can get through to her, is there possibly another close friend or relative she will listen to? These sorts of people are tough to deal with, and trying to make them understand that they are part of the problem is tough. I hope for the best in your family's situation.
  8. serenity

    serenity Community Champion

    I know most parents love their child, but she clearly has done it too far in this case. She seems to be spoiling him even if he is already addicted to drugs, and now she even fuels his addiction by giving him money to buy drugs. Now that is not right. I think if you want your fiancee's brother to get some much needed help, then you must try to "steal" her son away from his mom and put him in a facility for addicts. How about putting some medicine to make them sleep in their food so that while the mom sleeps, the bro is taken to a rehab center?
  9. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    Honestly I think in that situation I'd more likely just focus on the son instead of the mother, personally. People at that age rarely are able to change their habits and leave their comfort zones so it would probably be easier to convince the son, in my opinion. I don't think it's impossible, so if I'm really set on convincing the mom to help out then I'd just try and communicate it the best way I can.
  10. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    How close are you two? Your fiancées mother and you, that is? If the two of you talk from time to time then next time you are together, you need to steer her towards her son's addiction, find out why she does what she does and maybe the two of you can work together to help the person you both love get clean. It's very hard to do that obviously but love conquers all things. Use it both as your weapon and shield.
  11. wahmed

    wahmed Active Contributor

    You need to tell her. You need to sit down and politely explain to her that it is her sons life in her hands. Does she wasn't her son to be the next Cory Monteith and due relapsing. The wicker she nips it in the bud the easier it will be for your fiance to quit.
  12. stariie

    stariie Community Champion

    You are right, some people will do anything to keep things quiet in their life. Has he ever been violent towards her if he does not get what he wants? If he has, then that opens up a whole new can of worms. If he is not the violent type, it is hard for me to get what makes things quiet for her if she doesn't give in to him.
    MrsJones likes this.
  13. TommyVercetti

    TommyVercetti Community Champion

    It's important to act early and confront these enablers head on. Do it with tact of course. Explain in detail your position and explain to them their negative reinforcing behavior. If they recoil in denial, it's best to cut ties. It's your life or the life your loved one we're talking about here. Your only hope is if they see the truth, so the explaining part is probably the most crucial.
  14. Rosyrain

    Rosyrain Community Champion

    Sometimes people enable because they are afraid of what would happen if they did not. I actually just watched an Intervention show last night on TV in which a girl's mother was an enabler. She had a daughter who was bulimic and she would allow the girils friends and her to binge eat and purge in the house because she felt it was safer to be there where she could keep an eye on them as opposed to them doing it somewhere else. She thought that she was helping them out, but infact she was causing more harm. Sometimes the enabler just needs to realize that they are not helping the situation at all.
  15. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    Aahh... Yeah. My boyfriend's mother was like this as he started to drink and smoke weed at fourteen. But they never had a good relationship I think, so she did not have much power either way. But I know I would not be happy to have a kid and NOT do something about drugs habits...

    However, I'm not sure it's so much "enabling" as bad parenting. Teenagers also react strongly bad when parents tell them they can't do something. And when they grow up, then it's not really their parents job to forbid them stuff anymore. Grown ups consider this "none of your business" grounds. It's bad, for sure. But ... I know parents who smoke with their kids, I would qualify THAT enabling.
  16. My husband's mother is also an enabler. Every time my husband falls off the wagon and wants to drink again, his mother will show up with a little bottle of booze, or at least the money to buy a larger one. My husbands mother says that she cannot stand to see her son in pain, but the problem is that she has caused much of the pain that he is facing. I think that it would be in your best interest to sit down and confront your enabler before the situation gets worse.
  17. sillylucy

    sillylucy Community Champion

    Sometimes you have to point it out to an enabler that they are enabling an addict. They think that they are helping and doing it in a harmless way. If you point it out to them, then it might just shake them up a bit. Just be up front with your mother-in-law.
  18. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    This is true, even for those who seemingly recognize it, because sometimes even when they know they are doing harm and still do it, they are just themselves doing so out of a false sense of reality. If anyone is able to communicate to them well enough to bring them back and make them realize what they are truly doing then there is a better chance.
  19. E.Mil

    E.Mil Community Champion

    People who are enablers have a hard time saying no. Even though they know the person needs help, most of the time they still enable that person, without realizing they are doing more harm than good.
    Clairelouise84 likes this.
  20. imperivm1

    imperivm1 Community Champion

    On one hand, the woman is not responsible for the bad choices her son made. On the other hand, she kind of is because it was probably her fault her son turned out this way, anyway. It's a difficult situation to analyze not having more background information. I personally think she could be more supportive, though.
    trevermorgana and Clairelouise84 like this.