THIS is what enablement looks like


If you are feeling like you need to be stronger, maybe less of an enabler, let me show you some texts from my ex that demonstrate what true enablement looks like. I've been getting a flurry of text messages from him as my move date gets closer. My story is in my sig and in my thread called "I'm moving out." Ex is accusing me of abandoning 23 year old son who is a NIGHTMARE to live with. And has been a nightmare his whole young adult years. You know....the one who threw a seafood dinner (which I made) at me 2 nights ago. He was so angry I left to sleep elsewhere. He's threatened to slash the tires of my boyfriend if he visits. Visits the home I pay rent for. Anyway, you get the picture

So that said, here are some snippets from recent texts from his father. When you look up "enabler" in the dictionary, his picture is there....

"The pressure is real for *son.* It's nothing for you, as you have a good job and make money to live. He's obviously struggling with your move. As I predicted would happen. Remember fight or flight responses. Right now he can't flee so he's stuck fighting and the pressure is building each day for him. I'm trying to help him and remain positive. Ultimately he will see this move as picking your boyfriend over him and will resent you both. Sound familiar? I'm just reminding you that your actions have consequences. Change is good but the unknown for him is overwhelming. No job, no way to pay to live. Place yourself in his shoes. No good work history, strikes against him. It's difficult to see him struggling and I pray to god it doesn't push him back to drugs to escape the pressure. He's made some progress but clearly is not ready and needs some help. I fear this is too much for him to handle at the present time and if you don't see that you are blind. What has to happen for you to see that here? Sure he needs to find a job but he has other issues that are not being addressed. He doesn't cope well as you know. Just know **SIDE NOTE: this is my favorite part** that I hold you directly responsible if he goes over the edge again and returns to drugs. Hope you are sleeping well knowing the pressure he is under."

Here's another good one....
"As a parent you are always responsible to see your kids are ok. It's expensive to live and giving his record, finding work is not easy. No transportation adds to that. Just want you to know that you'll be expected to house him if this doesn't work out. Honestly not sure why you feel the need to move and put additional burden on him, which is essentially what you're doing."


"you forced this move. He can't afford to live on his own. Your selfishness is unreal. You know his struggles all too well and your attitude is shameful. Let's hope he can grow from this but if he's not able to afford living on his own, you are responsible for seeing he's ok"

And bla bla bla.

Sometimes I look at the big picture (and I know I'm rambling here) and think.... this is how women get hurt. Or worse. Because even though in my brain I know this is all BS, it can be hard to be strong and not feel guilty. And here is his father, having no regards for me, my well being or safety (because he doesn't know what it's like). A weaker woman (who I can be sometimes) might back down and find herself in a world of trouble.

A real man would respect my judgement, feelings, and intuition on this matter.

Anyway.... I am stronger than him. I'm sure you all are also.


Well-Known Member
Yep. Your ex thinks your son is helpless and a victim and that his record is just another bad break for him rather than his own fault. Yep. Father is not helping at all. Too bad. It really is. Then ex tries to guilt you on top of it.

You are not picking your boyfriend over your son. You are picking yourself first, which you should. Parents do not "parent" forever. That is why the legal age is eighteen. You also cant make your son either quit drugs or go back to substances. From the way he acts, just like my Kay, I doubt he ever stopped using. Even on the slight chance he did, only he can keep himself sober.

If your ex wants to treat your son like he cant do better than he is, then he will continue to make excuses for him. Maybe he will house him and pay his bills. Why hasnt he, if he feels your son is helpless?

You in my opinion should.move out and be with the man who is good to you. Maybe its time to block the ex. Be well.


It's insane, right? Fortunately I do see it for what it is. I just figured you all would see the craziness in this as well.


Well-Known Member
My son has been on drugs in and out of jail or house arrest. Has a poor job history. I have not let him live with me for a long time same behaviors as your son. If you don't draw boundaries he will never learn. I quit supporting my son will not pay rent and more recently blocked him because he asked for too many favors. He has a job a new apartment and so far is making it. Will it continue? I don't know but he knows if he doesn't it is his problem not mine. I slip occasionally but not on the rent , bail , or legal fees . My son is older but i wish I had started sooner. Do not let your husband gas light you. I agree with busy why is it your fault not his? It is his son too. Your son makes the decisions he needs to face the consequences.


Active Member
Guess what? If he's so worried about your son then your son can go live with him. I bet that won't happen though. They always have something to say when they aren't the ones dealing directly with the fall out. I hope you block him so you don't have to listen to his bs about how awful you are. Move out, and don't look back. Your son is an adult and he can go live with his dad.

I forgot to add, any idiot who blames someone else for someone's drug use shouldn't have their opinion taken into consideration on anything. Your ex needs to get a life.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
If your ex is so concerned with son's well being then why isn't he stepping up and inviting son to live with him??
I see those texts as more of a manipulator and bully than an enabler. If he allows son to move in with him and take care of him, then yes, he would be an enabler.

Your son is 23 not 3 and should be working at getting his life together. You have done what you can for him.
I get that your ex is worried about him but what is HE doing to help? What has HE done in the past to help?
You have given your son plenty of warning about the move.

As I said, your ex is being a bully and trying to manipulate you. I'm glad that you are not buying into it.
Just a suggestion you might consider sharing the story of the butterfly with your ex. Explain to him that enabling in the end does more harm than good and son needs to start addressing his issues on his own.
Not allowing your son to deal with his own struggles does not help him and you can end up with a 60 year old son still letting an 80 year old parent take care of him. There will come a point that we the parents will not be here, then what? It's much better for our difficult adult children to learn and figure out life for themselves now.

Struggle is Good! I Want to Fly!

Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

But neither happened!

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.

As you go through school, and life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.


Well-Known Member
I could try to understand and respect your ex-s point of view, under these conditions:

If he did not constantly insult you.
If he did not constantly threaten you.
If he did not constantly blame you.
If he did not constantly manipulate you.
If he did not constantly insert how right he is and wrong and bad you are.

If he expressed willingness to work together in any way.
If he put forth even one thing he was willing to do to help son.
If he demonstrated any understanding and empathy for you in any way. However tiny.
if he expressed any openness to communicate.
If he spoke about real world specific issues, instead of philosophical generalities.
If he gave even a tiny bit of responsibility to your son.
If he expressed even an iota of understanding of your situation and your motivations.

We could have a discussion whether there is validity to his point of view, that son needs to be supported, if this was really what these communications are about. They are not about supporting your son. Not one bit.

I can only surmise that the main reason he is doing what he is doing is to injure you. Not to support son. Actually there is not one constructive thing he says that would help son. His aim, I believe is just to batter you. I would do anything I could to avoid receiving any more of these communications. This is beyond gaslighting. This is pure abuse. I agree with Tanya. This man is an abusive bully. He cares not at all about your son. What in the world is he volunteering to do to support him? Not one thing. He only wants you to suffer. I am sorry.
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How are you doing? Any updates?
Yes, actually. Son is moving into Ex's rental property in supposedly a week. He'll be paying rent, which is ultimately coming from the financial help I've agreed to give. That financial help has a dollar amount and an end date.

Honestly, both ex and I are doing a good amount to help Son. The part that SOOO dug into me was the blame, blame, blame and the attempted guilt trips. It's my fault if he returns to drugs? I'm supposed to feel bad about not allowing him to live with me? When he refuses to work, is verbally abusive, scary to live with, a massive pig, smokes pot like his life depends on it, brings so many friends to my house, the only place I can relax is my bed, takes my money, refuses to help, contributes nothing, destroys my stuff....... Ex's demand that I continue to "be responsible" (i.e., house this person), is ridiculous.

Sorry.... I'm coming off of a night where (let me paint this picture for you) I had a nice seafood dinner planned for my boyfriend and I at my house, when Son came home from a trip, throws a FIT about nothing, yelling, cursing and calling me names, to the point I cancelled dinner and left the house. My house. The one that I, and I alone pay rent for. Followed by a bad night sleep because he won't stop smoking in bed and I'm subconsciously convinced I'm going to die in a fire.

Again.... sorry. I'm so so so exhausted. I vented now to you and I vented last week when I got that flurry of texts trying to make me feel bad. Ex is renting his property to son, I'll give him that. I just spent so much time trying to be a good mom and nobody has seen that. I want to just slip away and live somewhere in peace now. I'm tired.

Thanks for listening.


Well-Known Member
It's one persons fault if he returns to drugs.


Only his.

You don't owe him any help. He is lucky you still feel sorry enough for him to do it.

One day maybe you wont. I thought we would feel responsible for our daughters bad choices forever. We don't help her at all anymore.We are out of money and tired of her attitude toward the world.

If you know a God, lean on God. Be well. Put yourself first. Your son is a man. I wish we had stopped seeing our daughter as a little girl a decade ago.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
That is not a good picture.

Let ex take over. Do not ever let your son live with you again.

Enjoy time with your man in YOUR peaceful home.

I hope he is moving very soon!