For both the loved ones of addicts and the addicts themselves, co-dependency and enabling can be two very destructive behaviours.
I’m not an expert on either of these subjects but I’ll try my best to tell my own experience with them. For the first time in the 10 years that I’ve been in and out of recovery my mom and I are finally starting to address our issues with co-dependency and enabling. This is good because it’s well overdue. I am slowly learning to take charge of my life instead of having to rely on her to take care of everything for me.
Co-dependency – The idea of being overly involved in another person’s life. Worrying about the other person’s behaviour and feeling unnecessary guilt when not taking care of the other person’s needs.
Enabling – To make possible or easy, to make able, to authorize, to give power
For the last 10 years my mom has been my enabler. She would do anything for me because she loved me so much. What she didn’t understand until recently is that what she was doing was actually hurting me instead of helping me. But this is something I knew all along, and I was a professional liar and manipulator. I used her weaknesses to my benefit. I took full advantage of the power she gave me. I never had consequences for my actions.
My mom was in denial about how bad my addiction was. She thought she was helping me by not forcing me to deal with my problems but she was actually making things worse for the both of us.
What I didn’t realize was that I was hurting her just as much as she was hurting me. I was making her completely co-dependent with me. Once she realized the severity of my drug problem her whole life revolved around one thing – me. I was all she thought about 24/7. The constant worrying about what I was doing and if I was ok. I was selfish and incapable and I was so blind to even think about how I was affecting her life. Her love for me made her feel like every time I made a mistake it was her fault because I am her daughter, she raised me.
My mom tried everything to fix my addiction for me but she never succeeded. Her love and support just wasn’t enough, I needed to turn my life around on my own. Unfortunately even when I was kicked out, even when she would refuse to give me money; I always found a way. But in some sick way when these moment arise; I would resent her. I would resent her because I was selfish and I always expected her to pick up the pieces.
I now understand why she acted this way. I’m her daughter and all she wants is to see me succeed in life. Since I’ve been clean the co-dependency and enabling has pretty much diminished. Obviously she still worries about me but not nearly as much as before. Now she is focused on her own life instead of obsessing about mine.
I don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive myself for what I did to her. She says she forgives me and wants to leave the past in the past but it is so difficult for me to forget about how horrible my behaviour used to be. I just want my mom to feel appreciated and realize that I do not take her for granted. I don’t know what I would do without her.
I can only imagine how hard it is to watch your child suffer, knowing that you can’t really do much to help them.
A lot of addicts are so wrapped up in their own problems that they don’t try to understand how it affects the other people who love them.
I think the parents can go through even more pain than us addicts do. And Mom, if you read this; I love you more than you will ever know, and I am deeply sorry for all the pain I have caused.