How to Break the Cycle of Enabling

We have an innate desire to fix things especially if it involves our loved ones. We do our best to help the people we love when they have difficulties but sometimes, helping them is harmful because it only robs them of the chance to become independent. This is called enabling. There is nothing wrong with helping but if it encourages other people to be dependent, that will stunt personal growth.


You have break the cycle of enabling. It is difficult to break it but it should be done. Here are some tips that you can consider when you are thinking of breaking the cycle of enabling:

  • Think about it: When someone asks you to help him/her, you have to think about it. You have to assess the situation and make sure that it is the best action. If possible, you can draw up a plan and share it to your family or friends. If you think that your love one or friend can handle it, that is great.


  • Encourage long term goal: Short term goal is helping your family or friend with his/her problem without further ado. Long term goal is letting your family or your friends handle their issues. It is better to let them be than help them all the time. You are just encouraging self-reliance.


  • Explain your point: If you cannot help your family or friend, you have to explain your point. You need to explain so they can understand your point. If you will help, you should at least define the limit.
  • Hold your ground: There will come a time that your heart becomes very soft that you want to help even more. That is not recommended because you are only making them more dependent.


  • Stop executing their responsibilities: No matter how badly they need help, you have to stop cleaning their mess. They should learn how to take care of their mess. You have to stop executing their responsibilities and let them handle it.

If you are not convinced of the things mentioned above, you can look for other tips. No matter what you think is right, it is important that you know how to deal with enabling so you will succeed at the end of the day. The ultimate goal of breaking enabling is to be independent.

Singapore is a complicated place. You will surely encounter many problems here but if you know what to do, you will surely survive. If you are the “enabler”, you need to inculcate that problems should be faced not passed around.



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