One of the things that’s bound to come out of Michael Jackson‘s death is a picture that shows how many enablers he had around him. You might have them too, even if you’re not addicted to anything stronger than coffee.

In a clinical sense, enablers are described as third parties who take responsibility, blame, or make accommodations for a person’s harmful conduct. In simple terms, they help you to do something that hurts you, ultimately.  In the benign sense, enablers are “just trying to help”, they say, and it’s no lie. They’re trying to help themselves, not the person they’re enabling.  Giving an addict drugs or access to drugs helps you.  You cement your “friendship” or you benefit financially.  Giving a subordinate advice with thoughts of “how can I get this person back to work” rather than “how can I help?” is a form of enabling as well in my mind.  You’re focused on your needs, not theirs.

Compare this with a facilitator. This is someone who helps people understand their objectives and assists them to plan to achieve them without taking a particular position in the discussion. They’re focused on helping as well, but YOU, not themselves.

Think about it.  Who around you is an enabler – helping themselves in the guise of helping others? Who are the facilitators – the ones helping others without a care for themselves?  Which one are you?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks

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