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How can I stop being an “enabler” in a relationship?


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I am not in a relationship, but with my ex he would make me promises and I would say half of the time at least, he would let me down. I enabled his behavior by forgiving his broken promises, and/or not following through on things so basically I taught him he could flake out, break his word, disrespect me etc and I would keep forgiving him. Call him the next day or text him and of course he would respond but his behavior remained the same. I was teaching him he could act how he wants and there would be no consequences. So, going forward how do you handle this behavior in a relationship? I know obviously you express the behavior isn’t ok but besides that?

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Basically, if you have a reasonable request, a person who cares will improve their behavior to keep you in their life. After communication, if the partner continues with the dealbreaker behavior, you end things and move on. Keep cutting loose the losers so you can be single when the keeper comes along.

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You've answered your own question, I think. Don't forgive broken promises, don't teach him that it's ok to break his word and disrespect you, etc.

 

You seem to understand what you did. Stop doing that!!! :)

 

And how do you teach him that? Ignoring his calls? Don’t be available to see him? I don’t want to play games but acting like he did nothing wrong isn’t the answer

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Ignoring calls or refusing to see him is avoiding the issue and not an effective way to express yourself.

 

You communicate clearly and directly that what they did hurt you and disappointed you, and you would like to talk about how to avoid this in the future.

 

You also clearly and directly explain that continued behaviour of this nature will mean you can't continue the relationship. And mean it.

 

I find this usually boils down a matter of self-respect, and how much one is willing to tolerate out of fear of losing the person who keeps hurting them. I think many avoid confronting the issues directly because they are afraid of rocking the boat too much, so they continue to put with crappy behaviour because they're not confident enough to walk away.

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Ignoring calls or refusing to see him is avoiding the issue and not an effective way to express yourself.

 

You communicate clearly and directly that what they did hurt you and disappointed you, and you would like to talk about how to avoid this in the future.

 

You also clearly and directly explain that continued behaviour of this nature will mean you can't continue the relationship. And mean it.

 

I find this usually boils down a matter of self-respect, and how much one is willing to tolerate out of fear of losing the person who keeps hurting them. I think many avoid confronting the issues directly because they are afraid of rocking the boat too much, so they continue to put with crappy behaviour because they're not confident enough to walk away.

100% I was always “afraid” of complaining too much because he would have an attitude and make some stupid excuse. If someone cares, they won’t want to lose you.

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It sounds like this behavior has been going on for awhile, so not allowing him to "get away" with treating you poorly would be ending the relationship. Sorry to say that there is nothing you can do to change his behavior within the relationship is asking nicely didn't work.

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And how do you teach him that? Ignoring his calls? Don’t be available to see him? I don’t want to play games but acting like he did nothing wrong isn’t the answer
Though the term 'teaching him how to treat you' was said, the message isn't about teaching him to change or playing games. It's about acknowledging his action towards you aren't right and you staying even though there isn't any change.

 

You take some time to reflect on how you believe you deserve to be treated in a relationship. You work on the confidence and self esteem to create the boundaries and enforce it. You speak up on your own behalf and have the strength to walk away when you recognize this person doesn't care enough to treat you in away the feels right.

 

The primary focus is on your own self care and live your life accordingly.

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It sounds like this behavior has been going on for awhile, so not allowing him to "get away" with treating you poorly would be ending the relationship. Sorry to say that there is nothing you can do to change his behavior within the relationship is asking nicely didn't work.
this is my EX I had enough of it trust me
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Though the term 'teaching him how to treat you' was said, the message isn't about teaching him to change or playing games. It's about acknowledging his action towards you aren't right and you staying even though there isn't any change.

 

You take some time to reflect on how you believe you deserve to be treated in a relationship. You work on the confidence and self esteem to create the boundaries and enforce it. You speak up on your own behalf and have the strength to walk away when you recognize this person doesn't care enough to treat you in away the feels right.

 

The primary focus is on your own self care and live your life accordingly.

agree. I am a reasonable person...if the person has a work/family issue, is sick (and not every time either) then I can understand..things happen. SOMETIMES. Cancelling regularly when we have concrete plans with some bull excuse didn’t fly. When I would call him out on his behavior I would get ignored or he would say if I can’t be understanding then we can just move on. What??!! This is a guy who thinks he’s a good catch [emoji849]

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It sounds like a case where he just wasn't in love with you or interested in you but was too afraid to treat someone better. Try to avoid individuals (megalomaniac personalities/arrogant/loud or passive aggressively manipulative/belittling) who take advantage of others. You may be able to spot them easily over time. Be kind to yourself and surround yourself with kinder individuals or others with a bit more conscience or sense. Being kind shouldn't be misinterpreted for lack of intelligence or being able to know the difference. A lot of people make that mistake.

 

Just keep being you and keep associating with others that honour you. Honour yourself and respect yourself enough to know what's right for you.

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And how do you teach him that? Ignoring his calls? Don’t be available to see him? I don’t want to play games but acting like he did nothing wrong isn’t the answer

 

If you want to stop enabling someone, you have to accept that you are not his teacher. You have draw a hard line and walk away. Aim for a partnership, not a parent-child or teacher-student relationship.

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You stop being an enabler by exiting and dissolving the toxic, dysfunctional relationship.

 

It took me many years to finally give up on those who lack empathy and possess either low or nonexistent emotional intelligence (EQ). I don't deal nor engage anymore. Get tough, be strong and change the way you think permanently. It becomes easier to deal with complicated people or you simply leave them alone. I opted for the latter!

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100% I was always “afraid” of complaining too much because he would have an attitude and make some stupid excuse. If someone cares, they won’t want to lose you.

 

Well no - in a healthy relationship if someone cares they want you to be happy. I'm not afraid of losing my husband -it's not a motivator - I act in a giving, caring way because I love him and care about him and also made a commitment to him many years ago to be there for him. If someone is motivated to act in a caring way for fear of "losing" the person that sounds like a pretty negative mindset.

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agree. I am a reasonable person...if the person has a work/family issue, is sick (and not every time either) then I can understand..things happen. SOMETIMES. Cancelling regularly when we have concrete plans with some bull excuse didn’t fly. When I would call him out on his behavior I would get ignored or he would say if I can’t be understanding then we can just move on. What??!! This is a guy who thinks he’s a good catch [emoji849]

 

So here you sound hostile and defensive. Who cares what you think he thinks. Focus on your values and boundaries. Behave consistently with those values and boundaries and keep your eye on that prize lest you become cynical about men. No need to call someone out -be polite but firm.

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So, going forward how do you handle this behavior in a relationship? I know obviously you express the behavior isn’t ok but besides that?
If after you express how his cancelling plans makes you feel and he does it again, you break up with him. Nagging someone to be who you want them to be won't work. Staying with them after you've communicated to them how it upsets you and they do it again and again while you continue to nag them about it, is exactly what enabling is. It is also a symptom of you being codependent in nature.
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So here you sound hostile and defensive. Who cares what you think he thinks. Focus on your values and boundaries. Behave consistently with those values and boundaries and keep your eye on that prize lest you become cynical about men. No need to call someone out -be polite but firm.

 

Agree, so much so it almost comes of as dare I say you’re still with him...

 

I’m not against doing a relationship autopsy, but doing so smack dab in the middle of the anger stage seems like an effort in futility... your emotions aren’t objective during recovery.

 

I don’t think the say you teach people how to treat you means you literally teach them how to do right, your interactions and boundaries whether strong or weak show the other person what you accept, once the precedent is set, I’d say without some time apart it would be impossible to undo...

 

Learning to value yourself enough to walk away when someone isn’t meeting your needs can’t really be taught, it comes from within once you work on your self esteem and learn your self worth also not an easy endeavor but a worthwhile one...

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This isn’t really about enabling.

It’s more about self esteem. I think that’s what you should work on!

 

You forgive once but not without reasonable communication about how you feel when let down on a planned meeting. Or whatever the particular scenario is.

 

The second time it happens , acknowledge that this isn’t the person for you and end it.

 

Because you deserve better! Right?

 

You have simply been choosing men that are wrong for you. The guy that’s right for you , enabling won’t be a factor , because he’s right for you! Stop wasting your time on people that ultimately wont change for you but another might be ok with.

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So, going forward how do you handle this behavior in a relationship?

 

I don't form expectations that each individual person will behave 'like' another. That's projection, and that's a disadvantage from the gate. Instead, on a scale of 1 to 10, I keep my private trust meter set to a neutral 5 whenever I meet someone new. Then I allow them to show me by their behavior over time whether I'll want to invest more trust or withdraw trust and walk away.

 

So what are some examples of promises your ex made and broke?

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Ok work on an inside and out self improvement/self confidence building plan. Take some courses/classes you enjoy and/or that further your career. Get in shape, eat better, exercise more. Get a complete check up and evaluate your physical health. Consider short term therapy to work through some self-defeating thoughts and actions.

 

Retool your look, new clothes, hair, etc. Join some clubs and groups that interest you or things you would like to become interested in. Whatever..yoga golf a language etc. Have a solid job and good financial savvy. Make enduring friendships. Be willing to walk away from the first red flag and the first bad treatment. Consider that your trust is earned and valuable. Boot those who squander that. People respect self-respect.

I enabled his behavior by forgiving his broken promises, and/or not following through on things so basically I taught him he could flake out, break his word, disrespect me etc and I would keep forgiving him.
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