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What is the difference between enabling and caregiving?

Someone can be a codependent and an enabler at the same time.

A Codependent is an enabler and enablers enable by caretaking to the point that the person they are caring for is unconsciously facilitated to hide their illness and become more unwell,. They become more addicted to their substance I.e. alcohol, drugs.

The codependent/enabler becomes dependent themselves on the person they are caring for.

This causes the codependent to become unwell and dependent on the caretaker and holds back recovery for everyone, at this stage the illness has become systemic.

This is often because the codependent has low self esteem and they get their validation and self worth from caretaking but at a massive cost to themselves.

The difference between enabling and care giving is that care giving benefits the unwell person and they grow in wellness and are minded from day to day because they are they are genuinely unable to do things for themselves.

Whereas when enabling takes place the facilitating of the denial of the unwell person's ability to take responsibility for their own recovery takes place. This leads to the further deterioration of the illness of the person taking the help and the enabler is engaging unconsciously in this process for their own emotional gains.

Importantly caretakers must make their contribution to caring a win for them and a win for the person they are caring for, to ensure they are at not at risk of losing themselves.

If it becomes a lose/win outcome for the caretaker then it's possible boundaries are weak and need to reinforced. The only person that can do that is you. 


‘I always struggled with feeling stupid, misunderstood and lost in life – especially academically in school. This turned into anxiety and depression and brought me into counselling with Margaret. Here I discovered this might be ADD and went for specialist diagnosis and was diagnosed with ADH...

Gillian, 32, ADHD Client
Oct 15, 2018

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