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Enabling vs setting consequences
January 23, 2006
11:21 am
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September 29, 2010
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Hi all,

Just wanted to share this as I found this to be so "right on" for how many of us can be helped ...

I just went through a portion of the video by Jeff VanVonderson (an interventionist) on http://www.innervention.com/ and found it to be very helpful.

His focus was on intervention, therefore his statements were more geared towards how to deal with an addict. But I think they can be applied to many situations where you feel someone is stepping over your boundaries and/or effecting your life by their irresponsible/immature/disrespectful/etc. behavior.

His basic points were:

Enabling is unhelpful or harmful help with good intentions. The goal when you stop enabling is to set forth the notion in the addict (or irresponsible, etc. person) that their behavior is THEIR problem and not somebody elses. And that are consequences for their actions if it continues.

When you enable someone (by making excuses, tolerating being effected by someone else's bad behavior, not setting boundaries/consequences, or not allowing them to pay the consequences for their actions, etc.), you are taking on someone else's responsibility for being a healthy/respectful/productive human being. (Actually you are teaching them that they don't have to be, at least not with you. Kind of like a spoiled child that is never disciplined and learns they can get away with anything.)

Laying down a bottom line FOR YOURSELF and what the CONSEQUENCES are if its crossed was a key point he made. He said "the bottom line is what are you going to do to be a healthier person, even if they choose to be sick". (sick could also mean irresponsible, disrespectful, etc.).

He also said "You have to be in enough control, without controlling the outcome". In otherwords, you can control the consequences, but the choice to change has to be left up to THEM. (This is even more so with adults who should already know better, but can also be applied to children.)

He gave a good example about disciplining children that explained this ... His children are playing outside and he asks them to come in to eat dinner and they don't listen. He says "You have a choice to not listen to me and to stay outside, but these are the consequnces if you choose to." By doing this, he removes the pain and guilt of HIS CHILDREN's choices from himself, and allows his children to make the choice of experiencing that pain (consequences).

Another example he gave pertained to interventions ... he said the point of the intervention was to share with the sick person that you will no longer enable them by stressing "There is nothing we won't do the help you get better, and nothing we will do to help this go on any longer." I saw this as being done out of love and caring (both for the sick person and for oneself), not out of control.

Key points I got from this:

o Know what is ok and not ok for you.
o The choice to stop a behavior must be given to the person with the behavior (especially adults). You can not control another person's choices, but you can control what you will do FOR YOU (consequences) with the choices they make.
o Know that by enabling a sickness and poor behavior and not having and sticking to clear consequences for the choice they are making, you are teaching that person that it's ok with you if they continue it (no matter how much you argue with them otherwise).
o If you don't stick to the consequences you lay out, they won't take you seriously (btw - they may not anyway).
0 Some people are so oblivious to what's right and wrong ... possibly because someone else always covered up for them and therefore they never had to feel any pain (negative consequences) for their poor choices. Don't be this person ... you will not only be helping them grow, but you will also be helping yourself get the love and respect you deserve!

Much love to you all,


January 28, 2006
12:51 am
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September 30, 2010
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Hi There,

I am new to this so I will apologize right away.LOL! I am married 3 1/2 yrs. now and my new husband is I fear so codependant to his ex wife I feel hopeless. After the wedding everything exploded in my face. I was in the dark about the problems ahead because his ex didnt rear her head until my wedding day. nor did my fiancee let me know what was going on, I fear Because he just didnt see it when with her, or apart from her.She made up a very bad lie to keep the children from sharing our wedding day,She is a violent bully who has physically attacked me and purposely kept my husbands children away from him with made up excuses of illness, not answering the phone lying about going out of town etc.Help!

January 28, 2006
6:42 am
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September 24, 2010
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Go and read about PAS.
Parental Allienation Symdrome.

She is not allowed to do this. The children will believe there mother.


January 28, 2006
9:14 am
hopeful for change
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September 30, 2010
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Hey alize I do not know where you live, but where I live they offer something called mediation (for the kids) The parents can both be court ordered to come to this and a third party is there to "work things out". This did a wonderful thing with my ex and the kids.

He always bullied me and made up excuses and he wasn't able to do that with this person. He called him on every excuse. Anyway they made it into a court order and it has helped in many ways for about five years now.

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