An enabler is exactly as it sounds. Someone that enables someone else to do something. In this case, someone is helping someone do something they shouldn’t like feeding an addiction of some kind.
Let’s look at an example of someone with a gambling addiction. The gambler seeks out those that are codependent because they make the best enablers. They will use the codependent person to help them through manipulation. They are “having financial problems”. The wife or husband has spent too much money and they are broke or they have auto problems, some utility is going to be disconnected, or there could be something even worse like someone robbed them. Any excuse to get money. Some will even hide money with their enabler because someone might steal it or a child or spouse might spend it all. They will say or do anything to have the money.
If one finds themselves an enabler, the best thing to do for you and the user is to stop helping because the help is actually hurt. The enabler sees themselves as being needed but the best thing an enabler can do is to implement a “tough love” policy. Learn to say no. Unless the addict faces the consequences of their action, they will never learn to face their problem head on and find a solution.
If a person stays an enabler too long, they can become bitter and either resent or even begin to hate the user and there is permanent damage to the relationship. There could be damage is tough love is implemented but once the user sees their error the relationship can be repaired. Either way, it’s a lose, lose situation when someone enables someone else to continue any type of addictive behavior.