ENABLING THE ENABLED!

So many women, both young and old, are in relationships that sing disjunction.  We, as women, can recognize the issues when we see them unless they are our relationships! We talked about “Truth and Honesty Honest” in previous discussions and you cannot run away from this.  Any recognition of the examples listed below is purely coincidental.

In the past, using the word enable meant to help or aid someone to achieve a goal. Or, it referred only to someone who was on drugs or alcohol.  Today there is a list of whole new meanings attached to enable and enabler.

Have you ever been in a relationship where the other person seems to be the one leading the relationship around?

It’s sort of like a person with a nose ring and their partner has the nose ring in their hand and is pulling it every time they want something.  There is pain, you tend to trip over your own feet from the pull and even tho you hate to admit it, there is a certain kind of acceptance.

I have truly been there.  Have you?  Know someone who has been or is there?

en·a·ble  [en-ey-buhl]  verb (used with object), enabled; enabling.
1. To make able; give power, means, competence, or ability to; authorize: This document will enable him to pass through the enemy lines unmolested.
2. To provide (someone) with adequate power, means, opportunity, or authority (to do something).
3. To make possible.

Know someone who is an “enabler”?

en·abler noun \i-ˈnā-blər, -bəl-ər\
Definition of ENABLER
1. One that enables another to achieve an end; especially:  one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior.

Let’s talk about being enabled and being an enabler in your relationship and what it means for the future of that relationship. Honesty ladies, at all cost!

I happen to know a few women who have been in the past and are currently in an enabling relationship.  What that means for them is:

Woman #1:  She loved her husband unconditionally.  Wanted….no, needed to give him the reins.   In that relationship, he directed what they did, how they did it, when they did it and if they did it.  She went along because she loved that man so much and wanted to spend the time with him.  If he wanted to do something, she went along, even if it was something she wasn’t crazy about doing because it meant spending time as a family.  If there was something she wanted to do, well, to keep the peace, she didn’t push it if he didn’t want to do it.  

He made comments about her physical appearance, negatively.  “She was too fat” her “art” was just a hobby.  Never in these words but the intimation was there; “She wasn’t quite up to the caliber of other people he knew so she needed to up her game to come up to snuff!”

She was the steering wheel but he was the driver.  

As much as I want to blame him for being the ass that he was, I can’t!  Why?  Because she taught him how to treat her!  She taught him to talk to her the way he did.  She allowed him to create a woman who lacked confidence, who’s obvious beauty was centered around what he thought and who’s quite incredible talent as an artist was dimmed because he didn’t believe she had any talent.

HE: Why?  Because he wanted to be and was the center of attention!  If he allowed her to shine it meant that the attention was pulled away from him and he could not let that happen.

SHE: Why?  She loved him, was awed by the people and attention surrounding him. She couldn’t fight the true attraction she felt that this man was paying attention to her so she melded herself to fit his life.  She followed him around in his shadow!

Woman #2:  While they aren’t currently married, they are engaged!  He has fit his life into hers. Not because he wants very much to be a part of it but because she has a job and he doesn’t and she’s willing to bend to his needs.  He’s found someone who is willing to accept him and his past, which isn’t that stellar, as a part of her life.  He wears her down, using her lack of self-confidence as a tool, pushing her to do his bidding because she is willing to give in to his demands to make life easier.

This is another man that I want to hate but in all honesty, I can’t.  She gave and gives him permission to react the way he does, to say the things he does and to request those things he wants and she needs to give him.

HE: Is lazy and irresponsible and convinced that he is “owed”.  It is his assumption that she will give him whatever he wants because she tells him that every time she does.

SHE: She loves him!  Is convinced that he is the best she can get and she’s lonely.  And he pays attention, albeit, it is not always good attention.  She believes that he loves her and somehow sees having someone in her life as the only way she can be happy!

My question to you is this; Does your marriage or relationship look like either of these women’s?  Would you be honest enough to admit it if it did look like your relationship? Would you know it, recognize it even though a part of you, silently, has seen yourself in one of these women?  Are you enabled or the enabler?

Can you be honest with yourself and accept your responsibility either way?

Are you the enabled?  Do you use your relationship(s) to get what you want?  Play the game to win every time?  

Women #1:  A strong and powerful woman with her own company who has fans, a huge following, lives with her husband and their children.  She spends much of her time building her business and is generous with her time, helping others build their businesses. On the surface, she manages their life like her business, full out and straight ahead.  She loves her husband and their children.  But she’s busy and she gets overwhelmed!  And he has his own business too, busy and motivated.  But, when the push is on, she demands that he help carry the load, which inevitably is way beyond his share.  When he doesn’t seem to be pulling his “weight”, she talks to him like he’s a child and demands that he help her, no matter how busy he is.  Most times using guilt to get him to bend to her will.

In this scenario, the powerful woman is the leader, the pusher while the man gives in because he can see results to what she does and doesn’t truly get that there is power in what he does. He is great at his business but not as great as hers.  Most people would call him “hen pecked” but is he really?

SHE: Loves her husband but believes what she has to do is much more important than what he does.  She uses guilt and power to move him in the direction she wants him to move in.  She believes her business is meant to lift women to a higher plain, and it does, but his is just a business. It has a financial value but in the scheme of things, it isn’t as important as the work she does in helping women. In reality, she’s a bully!

HE: Loves his woman and their children with a passion.  He lives his life for them.  He wants and needs to be involved with what she does because it has a real influence on people.  He bows to her because it’s easier.  To fight with her is futile, to give in brings peace. So he lets her lead the way. He enables her to be the one in charge.

Woman #2: They’ve been married for a long time.  He married her when she was younger, beautiful (and she still is but doesn’t believe it), and malleable.  He was older, more mature, and easily manipulated by a young sexy woman.  And he was in love with her vivacious personality.  She saw a man who could rescue her. A man who was motivating, financially set, but with potential to have so much more.  A man who saw her beauty and she used it for her own gain.  Not saying she didn’t love him, she did, but having someone take care of her was so much more important to her because of her rough past.

In this relationship you can’t blame the woman for wanting to feel safe. Her past was fraught with pain and drama.  She wanted, needed peace and safety. He represented safety and for that so she loved him for lifting her out of that muck and mire.  And you can’t blame him because he believed she was the best he could get.

HE: Had been married before but it wasn’t a happy one.  Although a master at work, the motivator, the leader, his self-esteem when it came to relationships was low.  Lacking self-worth when he saw her, he thought he never had a chance.  That she noticed him, wanted him built up his ego and gave him the motivation to ask her out. When she did, he fell hard and married her quickly to hold on.  Once he understood her past, he felt compelled to save her.  He knew she needed to be “saved” so he offered her a world where she would be safe.

SHE: Wanted a man who could save her.  A man who was financially set and would give her what she wanted which was stability and caring.  She knew he lacked self-confidence but that gave her the ability to manipulate.  Yes, she did love him, for what he was willing to give her, for what he was willing to do for her, for rescuing her.  And, since he loved her, she began to slowly ask for those things she’d always wanted but was unable to get on her own.  

There was great love in the beginning.  Although they each had their own reasons for being together, their marriage was doomed from the beginning.  She began taking the lead, getting almost everything she wanted; tho he didn’t necessarily want all that she wanted.  She had a family, now his family that needed them.  So they helped where they could; becoming the family rescuers.  He wanted to help, she needed him to help because it showed him why she needed all the “things” she lacked and wanted.  He felt compelled to help because it helped her.

In this marriage, they are both enablers, and enabled.  Both of them were getting what they wanted from each other and in most marriages that would be a good thing. In this marriage, it was a user’s delight.  They both enabled each other to manipulate the other for all the wrong reasons. There was never true honesty in the marriage and consequently, it faded quickly and although they stayed together, moving in different circles, making separate friends, they reside together while living separately.  Would either one recognize their responsibility in the failure of the marriage?

Ask yourself this question. Who are you enabling?  Who are you giving into to keep the peace or because it is easier and less confrontational?

And who enables you?  Who gives you the lead because they just don’t want to fight? Who allows you the power in the relationship?

Whether you are being an enabler or enabled, you haven’t been honest with your partner.  Odds are you went into this relationship knowing you could manipulate your partner or that you were being manipulated.  The longer you waited, allowing them or you to continue, the harder it will be to change the status quo.  If you ever decided to change the setup, change the enabling or enabler, the harder it is going to be.  The fight to gain back the footing that you’ve lost, gave up, the harder the push back will be!

Truth and Honesty, Honestly, is not only the aim but the requirement for a truly happy and successful marriage/relationship!  What do you need to do, to change, to rectify in order to have the true and honest relationship you should have?

And, if you are the enabled, can you face that fact?  Would you?  Could you change things? Probably not because it is up to the other person, the enabler, to try to make that change! After all, you’re already getting everything you want, right?

The enabler!  Could you change? Could you become a true “partner”?  Could you demand that you get your fair share?  Probably not because the fight would be too hard! Peace and tranquility is the goal, right?

As an afterthought, if you have children, what are you teaching them?  How to bow to pressure or how to get what you want regardless?  How to survive in a relationship, never mind what it costs you?  How to be a doormat, self-sacrificing or how to be difficult, be a nagger? None of these traits is a great lesson but yet you teach.