Every one of us exhibits, shall we say, "odd" behavior. Nothing criminal, or dangerous, or perverse, mind you, but behavior that might appear odd to the average person. I blush to admit that I have been accused of this myself. When I am writing or doing research, I tend to "tune the world out" and focus entirely on the task at hand, able to ignore conversations around me or even the occasional thunderstorm just outside my window (like the one raging right now, for example). My beautiful bride has described this behavior to others as "Well, he just really concentrates on what he's doing, and really gets into it."
In a nutshell, she's enabling my slightly odd behavior.
Enabling behaviors are usually exemplified when they are used in dealing with the problems of others who abuse alcohol or drugs or those who are guilty of physical or emotional spousal abuse. These are not the behaviors of the drug or alcohol abuser themselves or the guy who beats his wife or demeans her in public. Rather, they are the behaviors of the parents or spouses of the alcoholic or addict or the beaten wife, who try to excuse, explain away or redirect blame from the abuser in an effort to "protect" him or her because they love the abuser.
Although well intentioned, the enabler simply delays the day of reckoning for the abuser when useful intervention might prevent serious, even potentially fatal harm to themselves or to the very people who are trying to protect them from the consequences of their own abusive behavior.
These are the classic descriptions of the enabler. But there are other examples that might not always make it into psychology textbooks.
For instance, the excuses made for rapists when some useful idiot spouts off about the way the woman or girl was dressed, and how she was "just asking for it." Or the radical Islamist who beheads someone, who was "radicalized" by the internet as if the internet itself was to blame.
A firm that specializes in treating individuals with substance abuse problems describes how enablers behave quite well in one of their advertisements:
On the surface, enabling looks like good, loving intentions. It is the action a friend or family member does or does not take in order to allow someone they love to continue abusing drugs or alcohol. It could be as simple as making a sick call to school or a place of employment for a loved one or running to the grocery store for an "eye-opener" because they are too hung-over to get out of bed. It could include more extensive measures, such as hiding the car keys or taking on a second job to help pay for financial wreckage such as loss of job or bail from a drug bust or DUI. Loaning a loved one money, letting him or her move back in "temporarily" or driving someone around because they lost their license because of drugs or alcohol are examples of enabling behavior.
Over time, enabling becomes an emotionally exhausting activity of continually monitoring, supporting or covering up for the alcoholic or drug addict in an effort to help. As their disease progresses, enabling behavior tends to progress along with it until eventually the enabler is tolerating more and more destructive behaviors they never would have before. Compromises continue to be made by friends and family members until the addict or alcoholic becomes the sole focus.
Even our illustrious president has enablers. Of course in the case of Barack Obama, these enablers are usually referred to as the mainstream media, or the U.S. Senate, or perhaps the Democrat Caucus in the House. They might also include the Hollywood elite, or multi-billionaires such as George Soros, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffet. Michelle Obama is undoubtedly a prime enabler, as might be Valerie Jarret.
Now before anyone fires up their wordprocessor to chastise me for subtly accusing the president of being a drug addict or an alcoholic, let me point out that I have no doubt that he is neither of those things. And after all the thousands of words written about Michelle Obama's "buff" arms, I think it safe to cross spousal abuse off the list as well.
There have been countless articles over the past five or six years that have described Barack Obama as being narcissistic. Okay, so what that does that mean? Does it mean he views himself as a male version of Kim Kardashian? Does that mean he thinks that he is utterly irresistible while also able to leap tall buildings at a single bound?
Well the American Psychiatric Association lists certain behaviors that cumulatively describe (in the The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM). These include:
1. An exaggerated sense of one's own abilities and achievements.
2. A constant need for attention, affirmation and praise.
3. A belief that he or she is unique or "special" and should only associate with other people of the same status.
4. Persistent fantasies about attaining success and power.
5. Exploiting other people for personal gain.
6. A sense of entitlement and expectation of special treatment.
7. A preoccupation with power or success.
8. Feeling envious of others, or believing that others are envious of him or her.
Some psychologists have also mentioned the following traits in addition to those found in the DSM:
9. Exaggerating one's achievements or talents
10. Expecting constant praise and admiration
11. Failing to recognize other people's emotions and feelings
12. Expecting others to go along with every single plan and idea he or she has
13. Requiring constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
14. Trouble keeping healthy relationships
15. Being easily hurt and rejected if someone doesn't agree with his or her every thought and command
16. Reacting to criticism with anger, shame, or humiliation
17. Lacking empathy and disregarding the feelings of others
Obama's enablers reinforce these traits (see #12, #13, and #15) when people such as Warren Buffet, or Bill Gates tell him that, "Yes, of course taxes should be raised on the wealthy. What a great idea! It won't hurt the economy."
Harry Reid becomes an enabler (see #12) when he tells the President that the only reason he can't rule by decree is those damned obstructionist Republicans.
Nancy Pelosi joins Reid as an enabler by telling him that he can't get a bill passed because of those "radicals" in the House who are "controlled" by the Tea Party (see #2).
Never a word is spoken that might intrude on Obama's conviction that he is God's gift to America. Even Michelle takes that line when she says that we "are lucky to have Barack" (see #2, #6, and #10)
If anyone mentions Obamacare, they are decried as racists, since obviously Obama is so perfect that there couldn't possibly be anything wrong with his signature achievement (see #9). An achievement that he had nothing at all to do with writing, and still after three plus years has yet to have any success in selling even a bare majority of Americans on its desirability (see #12). A majority still demand that the law be repealed.
Therefore they, too, must be racists, at least according to enablers such as MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Boston Globe, etc., etc., etc. (see #11, #16 and #15).
At a risk of sending the American Psychiatric Association into catatonic shock by using the word "crazy" (or perhaps it should be sanitized and have the political correctness police decree that we all call it "the C-word"), one must ask: So who is crazier? The enablers, or the one whose behavior is being enabled?
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller, Vietnam veteran a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Jim also blogs at http://jimyardley.wordpress.com/, and he can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org