You could be enabling bad behavior in a relationship and not even be aware of it. You may think you are handling the issues that arise as best you can. But in reality, you may be enabling bad behavior. Enabling bad behavior only makes it worse. You cannot realistically expect changes in your relationship if you don’t change the things you are doing. You may feel that you are not the one doing anything wrong. You are not the one cheating, lying, or misbehaving so why should you be the one making changes? You think you are contributing only positive healthy behavior so there is nothing you should change at all. What you don’t realize is that when you enable bad behavior you are accepting it, or at least the one you love thinks you are. And if the one you love thinks you are accepting their bad behavior, they sure as hell are not going to stop behaving badly.
It is very hard on people, especially women (so it seems) to use tough love. It seems more people would rather be compassionate, understanding, or supportive. We are not saying that is bad, but there comes a time when being compassionate, understanding or supportive isn’t cutting it. There comes a time when all that is doing is enabling the bad behavior. And when that time comes, you are the one that is going to have to change first. If you don’t, things will only get worse.
If the one you loves spends more money than they earn, it stands to reason they could find themselves in financial trouble. Your first response may be to help them out. Ok, fine. But the second time, third time and beyond? Let them fix their own financial mistakes. Don’t worry about them getting mad at you for not helping them. You didn’t help them get in this mess so it is not your responsibility, it is theirs. If you keep bailing them out, you are enabling their bad financial behavior and you can expect them to repeat it.
Don’t cover for the one you love. Don’t keep their bad behavior a secret you keep from your friends and family to protect them. You shouldn’t tell your friends and family everything every single time like a tattle-tale. However, if you have missed dinner at your parents house three times in a row because of something bad they did, don’t keep the secret anymore. Expose their bad behavior because keeping it a secret enables it to continue. They may cut the nonsense because they don’t want your parents to hate them.
If your partner makes promises they don’t keep, don’t let it go. Do something about it. Don’t just say something about it to them. If you threaten them with something if they break a promise then stick to your word. If you don’t, your words are as hollow as theirs. If your partner causes fights or does anything destructive to your relationship, let them do the repairs on it. Don’t be the one to give in if you aren’t talking. Don’t allow them to just give you a half-assed apology or none at all and forgive them. Make them work for your forgiveness, and not just with flowery words or empty promises. They put plenty of energy into their bad behavior, let them use some of it towards fixing what they broke. When you fix the problems in your relationship that they caused you enable that bad behavior to continue. Is it any wonder why it does continue? If you really want the bad behavior to stop, you have to take a long hard look and make sure you are not enabling it.
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