1. Do you avoid potential problems by trying to keep the peace? Do you do whatever you can to avoid conflict?
2. Are you in denial about your loved one being disordered? Do you think his or her behavioural problems are just a phase and aren’t anything to be concerned about?
3. Do you minimize the situation? Do you think the problem will get better later?
4. Do you lecture, blame or criticize the disordered person?
5. Do you take over the responsibilities of the disordered person? Do you cover for and pick up his or her slack to minimize the negative consequences? Do you repeatedly come to the rescue — soothing over hurt feelings with others, managing social events to suite them etc?
6. Do you try to protect your disordered loved one from pain?
7. Do you allow them to treat you like a child? Do you enjoy being taken care of? Do you allow them to financially support you, even though you are an adult?
8. Do you try to control the disordered person? Do you allow them to control you?
9. Are you good at just enduring? Do you often think, this too shall pass?
10. Do you give him/her one more chance … and then another … and just one more?
11. Do you join him/her or overlook dangerous or abusive behaviour, even when you know he or she has a problem?
Don’t Upset Your Father
I was reading an article on Huffington Post about enabling in families with an addict. I occasionally look at these sorts of articles as my father had a drink problem when I was a kid and even after my mother’s ultimatum led to him not getting drunk in the pub every evening he spent many years acting as a dry drunk. My mother’s words “don’t upset your father (in case he starts drinking)” became the mantra of my childhood. My mother enabled by which I mean she did certain things which protected my father from the consequences of his behaviour and from the realities of everyday life. Thus cocooned and cushioned from possible antagonism, however slight, and from the hurt he caused others, his poor behaviour was never confronted and so never changed.
This got me thinking about families with personality disorders. I’m certainly not the…
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