Distinguishing Between Enabling and Co-Dependent Behaviors

Dr. Suzanne Engelman

California Licensed Psychologist PSY7977
Board Certified in Biofeedback
Certified Thanatologist
Certified Animal Assisted Therapist

30100 Crown Valley Parkway
Suite # 17C
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

Office Phone:  (949) 460-4908 
FAX:  (949) 248-0421
Confidential email: srephd@hushmail.com

Suzanne R. Engelman, PHD, BCB, FT

Helping - doing something that will benefit another in a positive way

I  Enabling Behavior

   A) Doing something that permits another person to continue a behavior that is destructive by giving them things that allow the behavior: for example-supplying money or giving the person a place to live

   B) The problem-Enabling someone is meant to be of assistance, but the down side is it keeps someone from experiencing the complete result of their actions and for taking responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

II Co-Dependent Behavior

   A) Doing something for another person when it puts their needs before your own, especially as in addiction situation.

   B) The problem—Co-dependent behaviors can appear to be taking care of another person, and doing what they want, but the behaviors actually create a kind of passivity that can result in a pseudo relationship, and avoid dealing with conflict

   C) If the co-dependent partner stops being co-dependent, the family system can change in a positive direction with both people taking greater responsibility for their thoughts and feelings, and resolving conflict and disagreements.

Suzanne R. Engelman, PHD, BCB, FT (suzyengelm@aol.com) is a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Laguna Niguel.