As a compassionate and often generous person, I have been an enabler at times in my life. Although I’m often labeled a pessimist, I actually expect that people, if given the option, will do the right thing. Incidentally, that’s probably why I’m a socially conservative libertarian. In order for that form of government to work, people have to make good decisions.
In my younger days, my enabling manifested itself as paying girlfriends’ bills for them, picking them up from the bar when they got trashed, and various other things like that. I thought I was being a good guy.
Instead, I was teaching these girls to be financially irresponsible drunk idiots. You see, I was under the mistaken impression that parents were responsible for teaching their children not to be idiots, and I, as the good partner, was responsible for “taking care” of them.
So here I am thinking I’m helping someone, and I’m actually turning them into a bigger jerk than they started out as. People don’t learn jack squat unless they sometimes have to face consequences of their decisions. If you go out and spend 30K on your credit card, you are gonna have to eat ramen and suck it up, or you’re going to default and face all of those repercussions. By my bailing people out, I taught them that they can keep on maxing their cards because someone will swoop in and save them from themselves.
If you get busted for possession, it’s not my job to come bail your ass out of jail. You knew it was illegal to have drugs, and you chose to have them on your person anyhow. You are the idiot, and you are responsible for your decision. I’ve said time and time again, even if it was my own child… they are going to sit in the clink for a while and ponder their decision-making process. If the only way for you to learn to stop doing drugs is to be prison-raped by a giant hillbilly with hepatitis, then that’s just your bad luck.
On of my favorite examples of enabling is the morbidly obese person who can no longer get out of their own bed. SOMEONE is making them FOOD and bringing it to them in BED. That person is actively killing the obese person.
When I speed, I know I could get a ticket. Paying the ticket is the consequence for my poor choice. If someone else always paid my tickets, you can bet your ass I’d be speeding much worse than I do now.
It’s difficult for me to know where the line is between enabling and helping. Consequences are the universe’s way of teaching people who are unwilling or too stupid to learn from the mistakes of others.
The only feasible solution I can come up with is to stop helping people. I don’t see a lot of people coming out of the woodwork to help me with anything, so that’s only fair.
That’s a reasonable conclusion, right?