The Difference Between Helping and Enabling

Unconditional love is such an amazing non-reality. Why? Because “unconditional” love means you don’t make judgments, which are absolutely necessary.  We have to discern right from wrong, good from evil, and sacred from profane. And one of the judgments we all have to make at one time or another is the difference between helping and enabling.

Doing a nice thing for someone or helping out occasionally is one thing, but when a person is capable and their responsibilities are handled for them all the time, they are not held responsible. Enabling protects them from the consequences of their choices and actions. And the more you let them depend on you and take you for granted, the less motivated they are to change.

Now let’s talk about the enabler. There’s a payoff for everything in life or else we wouldn’t do it. The enabler enables because it gives them a false sense of superiority and makes them feel needed. They also feel control over the other person (through guilt) by helping them. However, they ironically still end up feeling resentful, frustrated, or unappreciated.

Real love for somebody is being able to step back and allow them to suffer enough to recognize their need to change. That’s the only way to help make them a whole human being again.

Here are some tips to help you stop being an enabler:

  • Don’t lie for anyone. Don’t be the wife who gets on the phone and says her husband is sick when he’s hungover.
  • Don’t make excuses for others when they don’t fulfill their obligations.
  • Don’t clean up after a substance abuser. They should see the damage they’ve done and the chaos they’ve caused.
  • Be accountable for your bills only. If you’re not responsible for it, don’t pay it.
  • Stand up for yourself. You don’t have to be mean, but you do have to put your foot down.
  • Don’t rescue. A person must suffer the consequences of their actions. Which means don’t pay for lawyers or post bail.
  • Stop trying to fix everybody. You’re not a magician and you’re not God. Work on yourself. Get the support of friends, family members and counselors. Join Al-Anon or some other 12-step program. Do whatever it takes to stop yourself from hurting somebody else with your notion of helping.

Quote of the Week

The spring came suddenly,
bursting upon the world
as a child bursts into a room,
with a laugh and a shout
and hands full of flowers.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
American poet and educator
1807-1882

How to Tell a Prince from a Frog

Finding a guy to be your boyfriend is easy – just go to any bar. What’s more difficult is finding a man who deserves to be your prince.

EVERY woman wants a prince. That doesn’t mean you are dependent on a man or can’t do anything on your own. You can be extremely competent and self-sufficient and still want to be courted.

Here are 10 characteristics of a real prince:

  1. He puts you on a pedestal. He appreciates and respects you. He knows what he has to do to show his love, and he makes darn sure he doesn’t hurt you. If he accidentally hurts you, he doesn’t hesitate to admit his mistake and apologize sincerely. He isn’t verbally or physically ugly towards you.
  2. He is a man of his word. When he says he will do something, he does it. He is loyal and takes full responsibility for his words and actions.
  3. He loves you inside and out. We used to call it “warts and all”. He isn’t just hot for your body. He loves your strengths, nurtures your weaknesses, and thinks your imperfections are cute. He’s tolerant and compassionate.
  4. He is mature. He has a well-established job and a good income, and he makes plans for the future. He doesn’t spend his time playing video games. He’s not lazy and he’s not a workaholic – he is able to balance fun and relaxation with work and productivity.
  5. He is the leader in the relationship. He protects and provides.
  6. He is confident in himself. He’s not desperately trying to change or accommodate to satisfy anyone else’s ridiculous wants or desires.
  7. He is independent. He enjoys his own company, spends time with his own family and friends, and has his own hobbies and activities. He isn’t needy, clingy or jealous. You are the center of his universe, but there are other planets in his solar system.
  8. He is appreciative of you. He notices and praises the little things you do.
  9. He is honest. He admits his mistakes and does everything with good intentions. He communicates and critiques honestly, not cruelly.
  10. He is moral. He has a code of values that he lives by and you can count on.

No woman should tolerate anything less than a prince. And remember, a REAL prince also deserves a REAL princess. So if you do find a prince, don’t nag, whine, complain, or act self-centered or narcissistic.