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What is an Enabler or a Co-Dependent?


Enabler / Co-dependent

What is an Enabler and What is a Co-Dependent ?

An enabler is a person who unknowingly makes it easier for an addict to continue their self-destructive behavior.

Signs of an enabler:

  • makes excuses and lies for the addict
  • believe one can maintain healthy relationships, by avoiding conflict and nurturing dependency
  • doing things for the addict, that they are capable of doing themselves
  • fear harm, if you do not meet their needs
  • may have a low self-esteem, feel need to please
  • give up personal commitments, for the addict
  • more often then not, you cant say no
  • your time is consumed with worry
  • money or vehicle loans are given, to make situations ok
  • special or secretive relationships are formed with addict
  • over protective
  • you feel you can handle situation better then anyone else, feeling that you have things under control
  • despite your help, they seam to have more problems then you initially believed
  • you have been told that you are “too close” to your dependant friend


When an individual assists or allows another person to continue in their addictive behavior, whether actively or passively, you are enabling. Most often an enabler is unaware, and is only acting out what they feel is best at that time. Due to fear or lack of knowledge one may not respond when appropriate, or lack in appropriate response when needed. Saying nothing can also be a form of enabling. This can add increased stress and pain in your relationship.


Enabling is difficult to stop on your own. Increasing self-esteem and gaining knowledge will help you to become strong, offering effective support.


A Co-dependent is a person who is addicted to helping someone, they need to be needed.

The co-dependent person will create situations to cause the addict to continue to be in need, and reach out for assistance. This behavior is Enabling. A Co-dependent often sees problems with everyone and views themselves as the only person who can help.


In Short Co-dependency is … an addiction to being needed.


Co-dependency Test:
1. Do you feel rejected, hurt or offended when someone you love tells you they don’t need your help?
2. Do you measure your self-esteem by how much someone depends on you?

3. After helping someone, do you ever feel depressed, confused, tired or ill?
4. If an addicted individual asked you for money to help with their expenses, would you give them the money?
5. When someone shares a life or relationship problem with you, but doesn’t ask for help, do you offer help or advice, anyway?
6. Do you find that you are surrounded mostly by people who need you?
7. Do you ever find yourself making excuses for the needy people in your life?
8. If someone you love has a substance abuse, emotional, spending or gambling problem, do you avoid confronting them?
9. Do you ever remind people where they would be without you?

10. Have you spied on, read notes, emails or checked others bank accounts without their permission?

11. Has someone resorted to arguing, begging or raising their voice to get you to stop trying to help them?

12. Do you help others before helping yourself?


Co-dependent relationships enable unhealthy behaviors like drinking, spending or gambling too much, and abusing prescription or street drugs. These behaviors coincide with bad money management, overdrawing bank accounts, bouncing checks, maxing credit cards and having trouble with banking agencies, loan sharks or unhappy dealers. Unfortunately, this can ultimately result in getting arrested, or worse beaten or killed.

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