Love vs. Enabling a Loved One

“I will not enable the illness, but I will support the path of wellness.” LP

While sitting in my living room this weekend, my friend leaned back on the sofa, looked at me and said “You don’t have to reject to protect.” What? I asked.  She said,  “You don’t have to reject your loved one, in order to protect yourself and your sanity.” At the risk of sounding like a Baptist minister she stood strong on her point. 

After a week of exhaustion my friend was looking forward to a day off alone in her home when her struggling adult child with untreated bipolar, came bursting in with yet another “life” problem. With a lot of recovery and National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) support under her belt, my friend looked up at her daughter with calmness, love, and quiet, and simply stated, “I was looking forward to a day to myself.” In dismay, the adult child gazed at her forlorn, threw her a look a look of guilt, with a good hearty twinge of shock and disappointment and left the house.

My friend immediately started to move into a place of guilt for not enabling yet another depressive state of  her daughter, until finally choosing to enjoy her time alone with a good movie. She didn’t have to reject her daughter in order to protect her from anything, because the reality is this is just another day in the life of someone in which she has no power. My friend finally reached a point where she realized her sanity had worth and value. And in truth, nothing that would have transpired from the exchange would have changed anything in her child’s life. It was just another day in the life of untreated bipolar.

Instead of jumping on the crazy train which leads right to Crazy Town, USA, where family members spin in their heads in attempt to fix a situation. She chose to embrace her time alone to restore herself after a long week realizing:

It’s okay for you to be okay even if your loved one is not okay!

This is a concept that eluded me for most of my life. Afterall, how could I be at peace if someone I love is suffering. If only they would comply to my exhaustive research on how to fix their situation we would all be all right. Yeah, right!

That was my old faulty thinking system that nearly ran me in the ground. My friend on the other hand, although once exhausted herself, has found the balance and freedom in realizing she can be okay if her daughter is not. It is just the necessary reality of the situation for her survival.

In what area do you need to surrender in order to take care of you?

Remember you are the CEO of you and no one else will cover that position. In fact, if you are willing to give away your peace, it will be taken.

Please comment and share your View from the Curb.

There are over 80 million of us who love and care for those with brain disorders. Your View and your opinion matter. And we need each other to be well.

“Fixing love; hurts people.”


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