en·a·ble enˈāb(ə)l,inˈāb(ə)l/ verb give (someone or something) the authority or means to do something. "the family recovery program would enable us to become our loved ones best chance at recovery" synonyms: allow, permit, let, give the means, equip, empower, make able, fit; make possible, facilitate; authorize, entitle, qualify; formal capacitate "the family will enable you to find your way to recovery"
Enabling is a term with a double meaning in psychotherapy and mental health.
Positive Use As a positive term, "enabling" is similar to empowerment, and describes patterns of interaction which allow individuals to develop and grow. These patterns may be on any scale, for example within the family, or in wider society as "enabling acts" designed to empower some group, or create a new authority for a (usually governmental) body.
Ex. of the positive enabling (B.A.L.M.) of a loved one
staying on point/being brief
referring to specific behaviors
labeling your feelings
offering a statement of understanding
accepting partial responsibility
offering to help
taking care of yourself
Negative Use In a negative sense, "enabling" can describe dysfunctional behavior approaches that are intended to help resolve a specific problem but in fact may perpetuate or exacerbate the problem. A common theme of enabling in this latter sense is that third parties take responsibility or blame, or make accommodations for a person's harmful conduct (often with the best of intentions, or from fear or insecurity which inhibits action). The practical effect is that the person himself or herself does not have to do so, and is shielded from awareness of the harm it may do, and the need or pressure to change. Enabling in this sense is a major environmental cause of addiction.
Ex. of negative enabling of a loved one
calling in sick to work (making excuses)
providing funds to purchase drugs
driving loved one to purchase drugs
not looking at own drinking
using with your loved one
blaming, criticizing, lecturing
keeping feelings inside
res·cue ˈreskyo͞o/ verb
save (someone) from a dangerous or distressing situation. "firemen were called out to rescue a man trapped in the river" synonyms: save, save from danger, save the life of, come to the aid of; free, set free, release, liberate "an attempt to rescue the hostages"
informal keep from being lost or abandoned; retrieve. "he got out of his chair to rescue his cup of coffee" synonyms: retrieve, recover, salvage, get back "Boyd rescued his brother from the bully"
Rescuing the loved one is exactly what we are compelled to do and natural but the real key is HOW we rescue. Of course we want to save our loved one from a dangerous or distressing situation. We want to come to the aid of our loved one. It's totally normal to want to keep our child from being lost and to liberate them from the bondage of drug dependence.
I would argue that it's not a matter of do we rescue but rather how we rescue!
Negative use of rescuing
doing what isn’t our responsibility and what we don’t want to do.
doing what people are capable of doing—and need to do—for themselves.
meeting people’s needs without them asking us for help.
getting involved in what isn’t our business.
doing more than our share when someone asks us to help.
forcing our help on people, when they don’t want it.
giving more than we receive instead of mutual giving.
taking care of people’s feelings or problems; neglecting our own.
facing people’s consequences so they can avoid them.
speaking for people and not letting them speak for themselves.
pouring more interest into joint efforts than the other person does.
not saying what we need.
taking care of others’ feelings as a substitute for taking care of our own emotions or unresolved issues.
giving that attaches ourselves to others—needy giving.
making excuses for others, but not understanding ourselves.
not standing up for our rights, but advocating for other people.
not getting paid what we’re worth.
compulsively caretaking and not knowing how or when to stop.
Excerpt From: Melody Beattie. “The New Codependency.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/muuVw.l
Positive Use of Rescuing
go inward and meet you where you're at
be a loving mirror
con·trol kənˈtrōl/Submit verb
determine the behavior or supervise the running of. "the mother appointed herself as their loved one's recovery manager" synonyms: be in charge of, run, manage, direct, administer, head, preside over, supervise, superintend, steer; command, rule, govern, lead, dominate, hold sway over, be at the helm; informal head up, be in the driver's seat, run the show "one family had controlled the company since its formation" maintain influence or authority over. "you shouldn't have kids if you can't control them" limit the level, intensity, or numbers of. "he had to control his temper" synonyms: restrain, keep in check, curb, check, contain, hold back, bridle, rein in, suppress, repress, master More remain calm and reasonable despite provocation. "he made an effort to control himself" (of a drug) restricted by law with respect to use and possession. adjective: controlled "a sentence for possessing controlled substances"
Control is the thing that family members struggle with a lot. What I like to suggest is to simply put yourself in the shoes of the loved one and ask yourself if you want to be managed, directed, administered, presided over, supervised, commanded, ruled, governed, dominated, restrained, kept in check, contained, held back, bridled, reined in, suppressed, or mastered. What is interesting about these words is that they could be used to describe the outcome of addiction. So if addiction is already controlling them, why do we want to add more control? What they need is advocacy, and positive reinforcement.
As an example, when you are setting your boundaries, I suggest we always say that the purpose of taking away something, say the privilege of driving, is not an attempt to control or punish but rather to highlight a persons ability to make choices. One of the most important tenants of any recovery is remembering that you are always at choice, even if it doesn't feel like it.