Posted on February 14, 2019 by Origins Behavioral HealthCare
I was recently speaking with a former patient, who is a first-time father to a nine-month-old daughter, about the strength of parental love. As the conversation progressed, I described to him in some detail the birth of my daughter (who is now thirteen years old) and an immediate realization that I had after only five minutes of her young life. As I held my daughter for the first time, gazing into her beautiful brown eyes, I knew that I would not hesitate to step in front of a moving train if that became necessary to protect her. The power of parental love had overtaken me (just as my mother warned me it would). The bond of love between parent and child is an amazing and sometimes scary gift. This gift allows the parent to hopefully nurture the child into becoming a healthy and well-adjusted adult. But what happens when the strength of that love actually becomes a significant deterrent to the adult – child’s health and well – being? Welcome to the world of toxic enabling.
As a family counselor at Origins, one of my primary roles is to assist the family in learning how to support their loved one in treatment in a healthy way. When working with parents of adult patients suffering from a substance use disorder, toxic enabling is often the number one barrier that I have to overcome. While toxic enabling can manifest in numerous ways, frequently the symptoms are as follows:
While parental love is primarily the catalyst for toxic enabling and the foundation that it is built upon, several other factors construct the walls. Those walls, if not torn down, often create a prison that traps the adult child and makes it incredibly difficult to escape the confinement of addiction. These other factors are as follows:
In closing, equipping parents with new and healthier ways to love and support their adult children suffering from a substance use disorder can be a challenge. Parents must be willing to not only gain new insights and challenge old patterns of thinking (and behavior) but also have a willingness to engage in their own clinical work when needed. Only then can both the parents and the adult child have the opportunity for a healthy and fulfilling life.
Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance abuse, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renown clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 844-843-8935.