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One of the most insidious tentacles of a family struggling with an addicted family member is the secret and equally addictive behavior of enabling family members. This a is such a complex dynamic and like many difficult problems usually, the best approach is direct, transparent and removing all emotion from the situation.

Enabling behavior runs the gamut. And most of the time it is difficult for the enable to acknowledge and understand their actions are NOT helping the family member/friend they are actually hurting them and in some extreme cases actually leading them to continued misery, financial ruin, jail, or even death.

Take the example of the show, “My 600 lbs Life.” There is a consistent presence of a key enabler that continues to recklessly feed the person suffering from the food addiction. Even if they are bedridden, the enabler keeps feeding the suffering addict! In these situations, there are absolutely two addicts working together to perpetuate a miserable situation.

It often times is the same situation with alcoholics, opioid addicts, and even recently added video game addicts. Enabling family members have enhanced and perpetuated the addictive behavior. Thus, the complexity of addiction, like cancer cells can sicken family members, directly contributes to addictions of “enabling”. The hidden addiction in families.