Enabling is simply trying to smooth things over, to keep things in peace and harmony, to keep the relationship together and intact. And while enablers definitely have their personal roots and reasons, enabling may have severe and detrimental costs. In the case of violence, physical abuse, and drug or alcohol abuse, the worst case scenario is death, but along the way there are many other costs. The enabler may have to work harder and harder to make up for the addict or abuser's behaviors to keep the relationship and family running smoothly. There may be financial hardships, accidents, legal battles, and a lot of physical or emotional suffering. Establishing boundaries for what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior is absolutely key.
Learn to say no. Not setting clear boundaries and limits in your relationship can be detrimental. Knowing what you want and need and being able to verbalize it becomes very important. Knowing when something doesn't feel right, and learning to say no without fear of being judged, abandoned or hurting someone's feelings goes hand in hand in knowing that we deserve to be treated with respect and not taken advantage of.
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Learn to recognize when enough is enough, and then learn to stand up and speak up for yourelf. Be firm. There is a way to be lovingly strict. Letting someone know that you have limits and boundaries based on your needs does not suggest that your love also has limits. Your love is infinite. It's time to learn the difference.