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  • Elizabeth Billingsley

The Difference Between Loving and Enabling


Hello everyone! Today’s topic has been heavy on my heart lately. I don’t want there to be any more confusion between love and enabling. They are not the same thing, never were the same thing and will never be the same thing. Many people today enable people and call it love. They are enable evil, abuse, irresponsibility, and the list goes on. When you enable people to do evil to you or be irresponsible, you are only enabling them to dig their hole deeper and to destroy you and your family in the process. You are not loving them. You are not being kind. You are not being sweet. You are just enabling them. I don’t know any other way to say this.

Love is telling people when they are doing something to harm themselves or others. Love does not sit by and let someone destroy themselves or someone else. Love does not rejoice in evil. Love does not tolerate evil. I think many times there has been some confusion here where love is concerned. Love does not mean you tolerate something bad to get something good. Love means you speak up when something is bad. You do your best to help the person while meanwhile not taking responsibility for their actions or their lack of action to change. Love also means you step back or put distance between yourself and that person if they will not stop hurting you. I hope this is making sense.

Please allow me to give you an example from my own life.

My late husband, Jeff, was severely mentally ill. Although I do not blame him for this, as he had been badly abused growing up; I also must tell you he also would not take the necessary responsibility for his healing nor his actions. He suffered and I do mean suffered with bi-polar disorder and a personality disorder called Borderline personality disorder. He was essentially two people, a good man and a bad man. He loved to spend money we didn’t have and he was also abusive verbally and eventually physically (this being the real evil). For my part, and I will write about this in more detail tomorrow, I was the enabler for a long time. I did not speak up when he was cruel to me, I honestly thought a soft answer was going to fix the problem. That’s a big NO! You don’t speak softly to a monster. I did not speak up when he spent the money we didn’t have, over and over again. I thought if I just went along I could catch up and it would get better. In fact in my own head, I had come to believe I was responsible for his behavior. And both of those are a big, fat NO! In the last few months we were together, I finally realized not only could I not be silent any longer; I could not enable him any longer. He was getting more violent and I was done emotionally. Our finances were in shambles. This relationship had come to its end – he would not change and I had not helped by enabling these destructive patterns.

After he died, I had to face many facts about our relationship and enabling was one of those facts. I have since forgiven myself and the Lord has helped me to understand, heal and forgive many things about myself and Jeff. I can tell you right now I will never again enable another person to manipulate and/or control me as long as I live. Why? Enabling is not loving. Manipulation and control is not loving. As you can see from my life experience, it is just a disaster waiting to happen because it allows evil to continue its assault on you and it never shows the other person they have to be responsible for their actions. Enablers take all the responsibility and further chain themselves to the other person and to the evil the person inflicts upon them. The last time I checked real love did not involve chains.

I have said this before but I will say it again. We are not responsible for someone else or their choices unless they are under the age of 18. Love does not involve enabling, abuse and irresponsibility. Love does not involve evil. What is it that you are enabling in your relationships? Who or what are you taking responsibility for that is not yours to bare? What is your payoff for enabling?

I encourage all of us to ask ourselves these questions. For it is in examining our hearts and our motives that we can find the courage to break free from enabling and evil.

Love is kind. Love is responsible and love does not rejoice in evil or abuse of any kind. My prayer is that we will all see and know the difference form this day forward. Eyes wide open! Love, Elizabeth

**To find out more about my story, please see my book The Road Less Traveled: A Story of Love, Pain, Hope and Everything in Between. You can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


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