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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Pugle

The Difference Between Helping and Enabling

Enabling behaviors can encourage unhelpful habits and behaviors, even if it’s unknowingly. But supporting behaviors can empower a loved one to recover.


If you love someone with a mental health condition or substance use disorder, you may feel as though you’re doing everything in your power to help them, but it’s just not working.


Oftentimes, when a loved one is ill or in recovery, it’s difficult to find a balance between providing support and giving space. You may even find yourself struggling with the desire to control their behaviors.


The person you love may begin isolating themselves and withdrawing from social contact with you, making it more confusing and challenging to know what to do next.


Boundaries begin by recognizing the difference between enabling and supporting someone. Maintaining boundaries between enabling and supporting may be key to helping friends, family members, and loved ones. Read more in Psych Central.

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Michelle Pugle, MA

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