Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Queen Enabler

This is what enabling results in!

I played the role of Queen Enabler in my family. 
The first lesson I learned in Al-Anon is to stop the co-dependent merry-go-round. I’m ready to get off. I hereby resign as Queen Enabler. I would be hard pressed to decide whether my Queen Enabler activities reached their peak with my Mom, my sister Margaret or my sons. Cleaning up their messes, literally and figuratively, and propping up their lives with money seemed second nature to me. I accepted that role in their lives never questioning whether it benefited them or me. I didn’t want to be one of those people who climbed out of poverty and then kicked the ladder to the ground so no one else could use it. I never questioned that my methods of enabling were far different from showing someone else the ladder and waiting with patience while they made or didn’t make the decision to use it.
Some of the high notes in my aria as Queen Enabler included: giving sister, Margaret, the down payment for her home, then watching her abuse the home, borrow from the equity and sell it short of what she owed on it; buying Mom a car on which she let the insurance lapse and then allowed my sister Vivian to drive and wreck it; and finally, aiding and abetting Mark as he wander around finding himself, tending bar, smoking pot and refusing to go to college. I stopped the vicious spiral by telling him I would no longer contribute to his life until he decided to quit smoking pot and take that brilliant mind off to college. Each of these constituted the circumstance which finally got my attention with that one person. Getting off the co-dependence merry-go-round happens one person at a time. If I complain about how slowly the process is my Al Anon friends remind me, “Progress, not perfection, is our goal.”
Of the Enabler stories I’ve heard since being in Al Anon, the prize and pinnacle is the woman who found a pair of women’s panties in her bedroom that were not hers. She confronted her husband and he insisted they were hers when she knew they were not. She washed the panties and wore them rather than forcing the issue of his infidelity and alcoholism!
I’m finally letting the fact sink deeply into my soul, enabling others benefits no one.

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