Compassionate or Enabler?



Sometimes I put TLC on in the background when I’m working. Usually the screen is filled with bridal gowns and gypsy sisters, but occasionally I find myself enraged with My 600 Pound Life. It’s not the size of these people that really gets to me- it’s their family. Many of the people on this show are either bedridden or of limited mobility. Many of them, probably most of them, rely on someone else to get them food. So why, WHY do they bring them food? I realize that someone who is suffering from an addiction or mental illness can be persuasive, but the negative consequences of their actions are staring them in the face!

There was a time in my life when I was pretty manipulative. I didn’t mean to be, but when my anxiety took over I would do anything to make it stop. Some people saw through it, some people just thought I was a bitch, but either way I usually got what I wanted. Until I met Jay. Jay is not the most compassionate person in the world, so maybe that has something to do with it. But, he does love me and he didn’t put up with my crap. I always knew what I was doing was not productive to my health, but it was so hard to stop when everyone would just give me what I asked for. When Jay refused to say what I wanted to hear, or refused to apologize, or told me he wasn’t giving in, it caught me off guard and almost cost us our relationship. But, after a lot of hard work, I saw that he was just giving me what I had always needed- boundaries. Does it mean that he doesn’t love me if he wont always give me what I want? I used to think so, but now that I am almost anxiety free I realize that it was because his love was strong that he could help me through my worst moments.

I recently found myself in the opposite role. Someone I’m close to is dealing with a few issues and as a result, has a tendency to act in frustrating ways. I’m trying my best to be nice, while at the same time pushing them to make changes by not always giving in to what they want. I don’t have magical powers and at the end of the day it is my friend who has to make the decision to get better, but I can certainly help. When it comes to addiction or mental illness often tough love is the best solution. Not the easiest, but the best.

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