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The Enabler: When Helping Hurts the Ones You Love

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  187 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Co-dependency-of which enabling is a major element-can and does exist in families where there is no chemical dependency. Angelyn Miller's own experience is a dramatic example: neither she nor her husband drank, yet her family was floundering in that same dynamic. In spite of her best efforts to fix everything (and everyone), the turmoil continued until she discovered that ...more
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by Wheatmark (first published December 31st 1988)
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Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Lots of wisdom here. People with disabilities have to find their own way in life. Life is what it is, over-protection leads to dependency which is ultimately a burden for everyone (and codependency is itself an illness). Stop doing what others should be doing for themselves is the message of the book. The author sets the ground for the book by revealing that both she and her husband came from dysfunctional family situations (with alcoholism and codependency observed during childhood) and they ...more
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
America is an "enabler".

It is hard to enable bad behaviors from others who influence my son ... it is more difficult to live in a bubble to prevent the site of bad behaviors ... it is tricky to tell you son to go to his room, when he remembers hearing his father say, "I can do what ever I want" (that leads the child in destroying my computer and a library book).
Mar 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mental-health
My favorite quotes:

page 48: When enablers do everything for people who can't walk, cover up for alcoholics, or give maid service to those who refuse to get out of bed, it makes it hard for their dependents to develop tools for coping with their lot in life. Their enabler becomes one more obstacle, perhaps the biggest obstacle, for them to overcome...Having a propensity to depression was a factor in Stan's life that he needed to consider, understand, accept, and avoid using to exempt himself from
Lucy Andrews
For such a very short book (100 pages) a lot gets said. The pattern of neediness and dependency can exist well outside of alcohol or drug use. And some traumatic event in a family, a chronic illness, physical or mental, can catapult a family into this dysfunctional mode. The essence of Miller's the message is that the best thing you can do for everyone around you is attend to your own life--not selfishly by ignoring your responsibilities and relationships--but mindfully. If someone close to you ...more
Erin Irelan
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Definitely an eye opener. I saw a lot of my own behaviors in the ones the author shared. Being an enabler is such a hard thing to break because you just feel like you're helping. Turning myself from enabler to an abler.
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a helpful book about the topic of enabling, and while I read it to get tips for dealing with an alcoholic sister, I found it to be an book dealing with enabling of any kind. In fact the book is based on the author's journey of changing her dysfunctional family dynamic (dependent kids, depressed husband) by learning about and ceasing her enabling actions.

pg 16 - "Some people's entire lives revolve around external overwhelimg and irresolvable problems. They are always involved in some
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tough Love is always the answer, but how can you be tough on people you never want to see hurt?
Well written by an enabler herself, we see the consequences (main word here) her family didn't suffer in order to grow, and the consequences she suffered by trying to protect them from the demands of their environment.
As an enabler, I learned this unhealthy behavior came from being a victim of a painful childhood in a dysfunctional family, where I wanted to "fix" everything.
Still, its hard to face
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My pastor recommended this book to help me decide whether I was being helpful or just enabling a family member. The book helped me decide how to disengage by illustrating situtions that crossed the line. Some descriptions of enabling behavior fit my patterns too closely for comfort.
This is very much a layman's book. It discussed theories without naming them and seemed dated (1988).
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read and a very quick read! Brings some interesting points across about the enabling-dependent relationship. I will try to use some of these insights in my recovery of being less codependent in my life.
Heather Kauer
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This got through to me like no other book on codependency has. The author recognizes that you don't have to have someone in your life who is a substance abuser to be an enabler. You can enable all kinds of bad behavior in your partner or children. This will be a life-changer for me.
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Miller gets to the point, no particularly flowery language but the content moves for the entire 100 pages. A clear examination of the relationship between enabler and dependent; I learned tons quickly.
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Filled with clear examples and good advice.
Sep 02, 2014 added it
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kristin by: Carol H
Shelves: christian-living
Very insightful!
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very good and short so you don't get bogged down in overwhelming information.
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Found this helpful
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“People who use their disability, grief or adversity as an excuse to avoid doing what they can are emotionally dependent, and emotional dependence can be even more deadly than economic dependence.” 1 likes
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