10.06.21 How to NOT enable. A really good read for us moms

What you’ll read below is a stand I’ve taken yet weaved in and away from and back into it in the past. I admire this lady and the stand she realized needed to be taken.

Young children still need guidance and assistance. Our young children who grow into adults should not expect that assistance since they are, well, grown adults, and should be totally responsible for their own lives. We were expected to be independent and on our own when we grew up, they must also.

They still need our love and on occasion our wise advice but assistance, no. If they don’t learn how to make do when things go sideways and we jump in, we are enabling them. It took me a long time to realize what enabling truly looks like and that was this lady, me (and Roy). That’s why I want share this great story.

Please don’t do “enabling” to your adult children. It’s not at all truly helpful. It is as one definition of an enabler says “someone whose behavior allows a loved one to continue self-destructive patterns of behavior.” It really takes a “wake up” to realize we are enabling. I hope what I’ve said and what Charlyn Shelton Menor says below will help someone who doesn’t realize their “help/assistance” is really “enabling.”

If your adult child is already independent and self-sufficient we should feel good knowing that when we give them nice things or do nice things for them we are definitely not enabling. I just thought this was a good read to help understand about enabling and a good way to handle it and not go through what this woman did to get to the point she did.

My mom did not sleep. She felt exhausted. She was irritable, grumpy, and bitter. She was always sick until one day, suddenly, she changed.

One day my dad said to her:
– I’ve been looking for a job for three months and I haven’t found anything, I’m going to have a few beers with friends.
My mom replied:
– It’s okay.
My brother said to her:
– Mom, I’m doing poorly in all subjects at the University.
My mom replied:
– Okay, you will recover, and if you don’t, well, you repeat the semester, but you pay the tuition.
My sister said to her:
– Mom, I smashed the car.
My mom replied:
– Okay daughter, take it to the car shop & find how to pay and while they fix it, get around by bus or subway.
Her daughter-in-law said to her:
– Mother-in-law, I came to spend a few months with you.
My mom replied:
– Okay, settle in the living room couch and look for some blankets in the closet.
All of us gathered worried to see these reactions coming from Mom.
We suspected that she had gone to the doctor and that she was prescribed some pills called “I don’t give a damn”… Perhaps she was overdosing on these!
We then proposed to do an “intervention” w/my mother to remove her from any possible addiction she had towards some anti-tantrum medication.
But then … she gathered us around her and my mom explained:
“It took me a long time to realize that each person is responsible for their life. It took me years to discover that my anguish, anxiety, my depression, my courage, my insomnia & my stress, does not solve your problems but aggravates mine.
I am not responsible for the actions of anyone & it’s not my job to provide happiness but I am responsible for the reactions I express to that.
Therefore, I came to the conclusion that my duty to myself is to remain calm and let each one of you solve what corresponds to you.
I have taken courses in yoga, meditation, miracles, human development, mental hygiene, vibration and neurolinguistic programming and in all of them, I found a common denominator in them all…
I can only control myself, you have all the necessary resources to solve your own problems despite how hard they may be. My job is to pray for you, love on you, encourage you but it’s up to YOU to solve them & find your happiness.
I can only give you my advice if you ask me & it depends on you to follow it or not. There are consequences, good or bad, to your decisions and YOU have to live them.
So from now on, I cease to be the receptacle of your responsibilities, the sack of your guilt, the laundress of your remorse, the advocate of your faults, the wall of your lamentations, the depositary of your duties, who should solve your problems or spare a tire every time to fulfill your responsibilities.
From now on, I declare all independent and self-sufficient adults.”
Everyone at my mom’s house was speechless.
From that day on, the family began to function better because everyone in the house knew exactly what it is that they needed to do.
For some of us this is hard because we’ve grown up being the caregivers feeling responsible for others. As moms & wives, we are fixers of all things. We never want our loved ones to go through difficult things or to struggle. We want everyone to be happy.
But, the sooner we take that responsibility off of our shoulders & on to each loved one, the better we are preparing them to be MEsponsible.
We are not here on earth to be everything to everyone. Stop putting that pressure on yourself.
To wrap up my Hurricane Ida posts I have four more posts: 1) about damage in Laplace Louisiana followed by and a trip down memory lane in the New Orleans area, and 2) about General Hurricane Ida damage to southern Louisiana, and 3) damage at camps in Manchac, and 4) a wonderfully happy post about Chip and my escape to northern Arkansas where we evacuated to after the hurricane and enjoyed the beauty and wonder of Mountain View, Arkansas!
I’m also getting back to the weekly overview of my life events. Now that I internet back (most of the time) I can get back to the writing that I love so much and that I hope you enjoy following!
Later, Rosalyn

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