How to stop enabling others

How to Stop Enabling Others

Helping vs. Enabling: The difference between “being there” and helping until it hurts. Recently, I had a patient say to me, “Of course I’m going to help him. I’m his mother!” I understood her sentiment, but I also knew that this woman was practically unraveling her own life for the sake of a grown son who hardly seemed to notice her sacrifices. She’d lost sight of the difference between helping and enabling. It’s important to learn how to stop enabling. In fact, over the past few months, I’ve noticed an increasing number of talks with my patients about the subject of enabling. But the conversations rarely start there. Instead, they start with a parent or spouse or significant other telling me they believe they need to “be there” for the person they love. Then they go on to detail the emotional and physical toll “being there for them” requires. Husbands feel it’s their “duty” to support their wives. Wives can’t “turn my back on him when he’s down.” Parents can’t stand to see their kids struggle and go to great lengths to help, telling me “it’s what a caring parent does” even when their kids are adults. Kids, too, struggle to help their aging parents, even to the great disruption of their own lives, and justify the hardship by asking me, “If I’m not there for them, who will be?!” No wonder we struggle. Relationships can be immensely difficult to navigate. It’s not that people don’t understand the general difference between helping someone and enabling them. As more Husbands feel it’s their “duty” to support their wives. Wives can’t “turn my back on him when he’s down.” psychological concepts make their way into our culture, I find that people are both aware of and can articulate the risks and consequences helping too much. The challenge isn’t about awareness. It’s about applying that knowledge in a healthy manner to our most personal relationships. This is where I come in, in teaching people how to stop enabling. So, back to my recent discussions with patients. After they’ve described their struggles to help a loved one, I ask how they can tell the difference between helping and enabling that person and how to stop enabling. “How do you know you’re not enabling him?” I say. Most often, they answer, “I don’t.” The good news is that the line between helping and enabling is …

how to say no to family conversation

Setting Boundaries: How to Say No to Your Family, Friends, and Others

3 Signs You’re Letting Your Boundaries Slide. Learn how to say no to family.   Three warning signs to watch for when examining your boundaries. Sign #1: Seething beneath a calm exterior When it comes to teaching patients about boundaries, the most common warning sign I see is in patients who choose to tolerate the behavior; they are not actually in a healthy position to accept. Examples of this: “My wife is a nag, but I just let it slide.” “My boss is under a lot of stress. I don’t take his comments personally.” “What are you going to do? I can’t change her.” These may be the sentiments my patients want me to hear, but what I really see are men seething beneath the surface of their cool facades. Their emotional distress is palpable, and they genuinely don’t have any idea why. Saying things such as: Let it slide. Don’t take it personally. What are you going to do? It’s just the way she is. This is the language we use to justify not protecting our personal boundaries. We tell ourselves these events aren’t a big deal, but that’s really just a tactic to avoid the guilt of how to say no to family or to confront our loved ones. Under the surface, the issue we try to cast aside actually churn and build. They disrupt our lives, emotional health, and confidence. They hurt our feelings. They chip away and eventually destroy our most important relationships. They are a big deal.   Sign #2: Blaming things instead of people Setting and protecting is difficult. It elicits feelings of guilt and fear because we don’t want to “hurt” the people in our lives. To keep our boundaries intact, we have to learn how to say no to family, even when our loved ones want us to say “yes.” To mitigate guilt, I find that my patients often blame their anger and frustration on objects, rather than people. For example: A husband who dislikes spending every holiday at his in-law’s house will blame the weather or the traffic. He’ll tell me, “Just getting there is a total nightmare!” A man who doesn’t agree politically with his extended family blames his discomfort on a difference in cultures, saying, “Southerners just get me, you know?” A father whose adult son is still on his “payroll” will blame the economy by asking me, “How is anyone …

How to Recognize Good Emotional Boundaries

How to Recognize a Good Boundary When You See It Maintaining good personal emotional boundaries is a very important element of positive mental health. Emotional boundaries protect us from manipulation and from being taken advantage of. They help minimize hurt and frustration. They build our self-confidence and even help improve our relationships. But what are they, and why are they so tricky? In my experience, most patients believe they have better personal boundaries than they do. They say, “I’d never tolerate [x]” or “I’ll never put up with [y] again.” But when it comes time to exercise those boundaries, they don’t. They loan them money or swallow the insults or ignore the behavior they swore they’d never overlook again. And the cycle continues to repeats itself. Since this is such a common cycle, I’d like to examine the basic elements of healthy emotional boundaries. To illustrate, let me tell you about the story of my patient, Gary. Gary couldn’t say no. Gary was a successful real estate broker who couldn’t say no to his adult daughter. Every time she needed money — whether two hundred dollars or two thousand dollars — he gave it to her. Then when she spent it on expensive clothes or indulgent nights out, he’d despair that she’d essentially thrown his money away. He made comments about her being irresponsible. He told her he wasn’t going to give her any money unless he knew precisely how she was going to spend it. Then they’d argue, and she’d cry, and he’d feel terrible and he’d end up writing his daughter a check. I asked him why he couldn’t say no to his daughter’s requests. He explained that he and his wife divorced when his daughter was young. “It was so hard on her,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt her any more than I already have.” Then he added, “Plus, I have the money. I’ve done well for myself. Why wouldn’t I share it with my daughter?” The answer to that question is where Gary and I began our work together. Emotional Boundaries are rarely black and white Gary had a partial understanding of personal boundaries. He saw them as absolutes, as lines in the sand. “I would never give her money for drugs,” for example. Boundaries, however, are rarely so black and white. Instead, they’re more effectively viewed as limits, as the threshold between when …

How to Enforce Boundaries Without Being the Bad Guy

Hello again! Dr. Laura Dabney and Joelle Brant, life coach we are here helping men, executive men with relationship problems.   We are helping everybody get over the fear of seeing or getting help from somebody in mental health if you need it yes for your emotions and or your relationships. But really almost everybody with emotional problem ends up having a relationship problem.  You can  say for this that it definitely might not be a huge relationship problem but it does affect the relationship.   yeah I think that’s most of the time true what Joelle and I were kind of laughing when we started because we continue to get questions and feedback on our boundaries episodes.  we’ve had two write ins about boundary talks before and they seem to be a big hit so somehow this is an issue.    actually you know what else has been a big issue we’ve been talking a lot with reporters lately that’s been a big change in our practice I don’t know if you noticed on Instagram and Facebook but there have been more articles we’ve been quoted in and they are that topic that keeps coming up over and over again a sociopath.   somehow that’s the big topic I hear it’s there’s some YouTube war going on about somebody claiming someone’s a sociopath and some people thinking he’s not. and that’s maybe part of it but sociopath is a good topic.  so let us know if you wanna hear about that that one put that one on the back burner  because we talked a lot about that.      well maybe a little too much experiences with sociopaths and that’s not fun.  and then we have boundaries for today and we thought we would add a little twist and talk about how to set boundaries.    How to  enforce them without being the bad guy.  we get that question in session a lot so we’ve talked in our other episodes here about what a boundary is and why you need them so check that out I think is that our paprika one.  that’s too funny.   that is our paprika example.  Because you were in the paprika example, make  sure to get me paprika and Joelle’s paprika shirt haha.   so boundaries are important.    once you understand a boundary  and why you need them how do you set that?  yeah so people are very concerned about being the bad guy whenever we talk about discussing negative feelings. or putting up a boundary which involves a negative feeling so I think that’s why a little connection.   like like somehow if you let on you have a …