WARNING . . . LONG AND VENTING POST!!
I have been going through a very sad, discouraging, helpless situation with a person that I love very much. It's sad to think that there are people in the world who are takers . . . people who will take and take until it physically, emotionally and financially breaks another person. It's even more upsetting when the taker is a child. At this point, I have had to completely walk away from this situation before my relationship with the giver is completely ruined.
Through all of this, I have wondered so many times why a parent would enable a child to the point that they cannot even take care of themselves. Why is "no" such a hard word to say? I really believe that "NO" is sometimes the most loving answer. I believe that children need to learn that if they choose a behavior, they choose the consequences. A parent simply cannot allow a child to keep choosing behaviors that have negative consequences that they pick up the tab for! It's so important to remember, you are not doing your child a favor by paying their way through life.
I believe that we need to prepare our children for the real world. When we talk about loving our children, loving them means preparing them. In the real world, your children will have to pull their own weight and make their own way. It is important for your children to learn self-sufficiency, develop high self-esteem and be motivated from early on in life. If you are constantly helping them and taking care of their needs, you are not preparing them for the real world, and in fact, you are actually crippling them. They will also resent you, each time you give, they will resent you a little more.
What happened to teaching our children how the real world works?! In order to have the things you want, you have to work very hard. You may have to work two jobs instead of one! Many young adults, some who now have children of their own, believe their parents somehow “owe them” financial assistance, to rescue them from the burden of their own poor choices and habits!
Maybe I’m being a little too tough. . . . .NO, I don’t think so! I’m of the thinking that if a grown, adult child, CHOOSES to spend their money on things they “want” rather than their “needs” (like a place to live, child support, utilities, food, etc.., like the rest of us do) and if their electric gets shut off because of non-payment? Oh Well! So their food goes bad and they have to throw it away. Maybe, just maybe, it’s more of a “help” to allow them to experience the consequences of their own poor choices, in order to learn the valuable lessons needed to be grown, independent ADULTS.
I don't mean to offend anyone, and I'm sorry if I have, but let's get real, in this day and age, we need to be raising responsible citizens. .
I found this list that Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse put together. In her work with families, she suggests that 96% of the general population, exhibit some forms of co-dependent behavior at one time or in fairly consistent patterns or both. What does that behavior “look like”?
1. Do you find yourself worrying about a person in ways that consume your time, or do you find yourself trying to come up with solutions to his/ her problems rather than letting that person do the solving?
2. Do you find yourself afraid for this person, or convinced that he/she “cannot handle” a situation or relationship without “falling apart”?
3. Do you ever do something for a person which he/she could and even should be doing for him or herself?
4. Do you ever excuse this person’s behavior as being a result of “stress, misunderstanding, or difficulty coping,” even when the behavior hurts or inconveniences you?
5. Have you ever considered giving/given this person money, your car, or talked to someone for this person as a way of reducing this person’s pain?
6. Do you feel angry if this person does not follow through with something you have suggested – or do you worry that you may not be doing enough for this person?
7. Do you ever feel you have a unique and special relationship with this person, unlike anyone else they may know?
8. Do you feel protective of this person – even though he/she is an adult and is capable of taking care of his/her life?
9. Do you ever wish others in this person’s life would change their behavior or attitudes to make things easier for this person?
10. Do you feel responsible for getting this person help?
11. Do you feel reluctant to refer an individual to a source of help or assistance, uncertain if another person can understand or appreciate this person’s situation the way you do?
12. Do you ever feel manipulated by this person but ignore your feelings?
13. Do you ever feel that no one understands this person as you do?
14. Do you ever feel that you know best what another person needs to do or that you recognize his/her needs better than he/she does?
15. Do you sometimes feel alone in your attempts to help a person or do you feel you may be the only person to help this individual?
16. Do you ever want to make yourself more available to another person, at the expense of your own energy, time, or commitments?
17. Do you find yourself realizing that an individual may have more problems than you initially sensed and that you will need to give him/her your support or help for a long time?
18. Do you ever feel, as a result of getting to know this person, that you feel energized and can see yourself helping people like him/her to solve their problems?
19. Have you ever begun to “see yourself” in this person and his/her problems?
20. Has anyone ever suggested to you that you are “too close” to this person or this situation?
If you have answered “yes” to two or more of these questions, it is likely that, at one time or another – or on a regular basis – you have crossed the line from being supportive to being an enabler or co-dependent. Please get help if you think you have this problem.