Do you know someone who’s addicted to drugs or alcohol? Is it possible that out of a sincere sense of loyalty and love you could be covering up for him or making excuses to protect him? Or even worse, are you in denial yourself?
Linda, a mother to three heroin addicted daughters, admits that she gives her daughters money, pays their bills and provides a place to stay and says she just can’t kick them out. In the video above, Dr. Phil explains how he believes Linda is enabling her daughters. “You are giving them money and you say because they won’t stop [asking],” he says. “So you’re giving them money to make yourself feel better.” When Linda says it’s so her daughters will leave her alone, Dr. Phil reiterates that that in turn makes her feel better. “They’re playing you like a fiddle,” Dr. Phil says. “You’re part of the problem.”
To find out if you could be enabling your loved one’s behavior, Dr. Phil suggests you ask yourself these questions; if you answer yes to even one, you could be preventing him from getting the help he needs.
1. Do you avoid potential problems by trying to keep the peace? Do you do whatever you can to avoid conflict?
2. Are you in denial about your loved one being addicted? Do you think his or her drug or alcohol use is just a phase and isn't anything to be concerned about?
3. Do you minimize the situation? Do you think the problem will get better later?
4. Do you lecture, blame or criticize the chemically dependent person?
5. Do you take over the responsibilities of the addicted person? Do you cover for and pick up his or her slack to minimize the negative consequences? Do you repeatedly come to the rescue — bailing him or her out of jail, out of financial problems or other tight spots?
6. Do you try to protect your addicted loved one from pain?
7. Do you treat him or her like a child? Do you enjoy taking care of your loved one and feel superior when you do? Do you still financially support him or her, even though he or she is an adult?
8. Do you try to control the dependent person?
9. Are you good at just enduring? Do you often think, this too shall pass?
10. Do you give him/her one more chance ... and then another ... and just one more?
11. Do you join him/her in the dangerous behavior, even when you know he or she has a problem?