Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

My marriage counselor is a saint. At the very least he has the patience of one.

In the early days of counseling I would say that the writing was definitely on the wall. My marriage was over. My counselor knew it and deep down I knew it. The funny thing is that I was listening to every single thing he was telling me. The problem was being told I was an enabler and recognizing when I was enabling were two very different things. I have been this way my whole life so recognizing ingrained behavior was more than a little difficult.

“I know I should give up, but he’s going through a really difficult time,” I would say. “He’s a good person in a bad place.”

You name it and I had the excuse for why I was going to stay and put more effort into my marriage.

So here’s the deal. I’ve said it before, enablers make excuses for other people’s bad behavior or why they choose to stay in a bad situation for so long.

Here are a few clues that you are ready for ‘Enabler’s Anonymous:”

In your friendships, you say things such as, “I know she’s obnoxious, but she’s fun,” “I realize that she’s a bit mean, but she is just unhappy right now,” “I know she’s controlling, but she has a big heart,” “I know she seems a bit rude, but she’s just trying to be direct.”

In your marriage, you say things such as, “I know he ignores me, but the grass is never greener,” “I know he is selfish, but aren’t all men?” “I know he keeps hurting me, but he’s in a bad place,” “I know he doesn’t listen to me, but his job is consuming.”

In your workplace, you say things such as, “I know my boss is a nightmare, but I like the other people I work with,” “I know that I am underpaid and under appreciated, but there aren’t a lot of jobs out there,” “I know I shouldn’t work this late and they take advantage of me, but who else will do the work if I don’t?” “I know I should have gotten that raise, but the company is hurting financially.”

If you are unhappy, stop making excuses and get out of whatever situation it is. If you are a true enabler, it will not get better. It will just bring you down. Soon you will be complaining because you feel taken advantage of and undervalued. The more you wear yourself down the weaker you become and change becomes even more difficult.

My name is Colleen, I’m an enabler. I finally realize the cost of all those well intentioned excuses. It was me.

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