Styles of Enabling Behavior

Avoiding and shielding: Any behavior by the codependent covering up for, or preventing the abuser, or self from experiencing the full impact or harmful consequences of drug use.

Attempting to control: Any behavior by the codependent performed with the intent to take personal control over the significant other’s drug use.

Taking over responsibilities: Any behavior by the codependent designed to take over the abuser’s personal responsibilities, such as household chores or employment.

Rationalizing and accepting: Any behavior by the codependent conveying a rationalization or acceptance of the significant other’s drug use.

Cooperating and collaborating: Any assistance or involvement by the codependent in the buying, selling, adulterating, testing, preparing, or use of drugs.

Rescuing and subserving: Any behavior by the codependent overprotecting the abuser and subjugating himself/herself.

Personality Traits

Self confidence

  • Have difficulty completing what they start
  • Are merciless judges of themselves
  • Are extremely serious about themselves
  • Look for approval and recognition
  • Rarely allow themselves to have fun


  • Remain loyal even when loyalty is undeserved
  • Have difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships
  • Are never sure what is normal behavior
  • Are extremely responsible or irresponsible
  • Feel somehow different from others

Stress response

  • Tell unnecessary lies when truth would serve
  • Tend to overreact to changes when they are powerless over the situation
  • Tend to be impulsive without considering alternatives or consequences leading to loss of self esteem and feelings of loss of control.

One thought on “Styles of Enabling Behavior

  1. Pingback: Top Posts March ‘08 « Alcohol Self-Help News


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