enabling the person

Surinam del Nord

Senior Member
Español - España
Hello, I am translating a self-help handbook and I have found the following sentence, which I don't really understand:

Some relatives may have turned away. At the same time, some family members may still be enabling the person.

Does that mean that those family members are helping and supporting the person?

Thank you.
 
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    This is a special use of the word "enabling". I am not a psychologist, but I would define enabling as actions that encourage unhealthy behavior in another by denying the behavior exists, making excuses for the behavior or encouraging a repetition of the behavior in some way.

    It is not helping the person to get healthy. It is providing support for them to continue some unhealthy behavior.

    Running to the store to get another two dozen donuts for a morbidly obese person who can no longer fit through the door to get them himself would be an extreme example of enabling. A spouse accepting the apologies of a spouse after yet another beating and believing he or she will change is enabling.

    This is a sort of "pop psychology" understanding of the term. I don't know how accurately it reflects the real definition in psychology.
     
    Last edited:

    Surinam del Nord

    Senior Member
    Español - España
    Thank you both. I think JamesM's explanation of the term to be quite accurate, when you pretend to be helping someone but you're really harming him/her.
     
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