Do you know someone who just can’t seem to say “no” to a narcissist? This person is known as an enabler.
Enablers are often characterized by their unwillingness to set boundaries with the narcissist and their need to please them at all costs. They usually have low self-esteem and feel like they can’t survive without the narcissist in their life.
In this blog post, we will explore the role of the enabler, with particular focus on enablers in narcissistic families. We will also discuss how you can break free from this toxic relationship dynamic.
Why does the Enabler support the Narcissist?
There can be a number of reasons why an enabler supports a narcissist. For some, it may be out of fear or intimidation. The narcissist may have threatened to leave them if they don’t do as they’re told, or they may worry that the narcissist will turn on them and become abusive if they don’t comply.
Others may enable the narcissist because they have a need to be needed. They derive a sense of validation and self-worth from being in a relationship with the narcissist and are afraid of losing that.
And finally, some enablers simply don’t want to see the bad things that are happening in their relationship. They may be in denial or they may just be too exhausted to confront the narcissist.
Characteristics of Enablers
There are several common characteristics of enablers. First, they often have low self-esteem and feel that they can’t survive without the narcissist in their life. They also have a hard time setting boundaries with the narcissist and tend to put the narcissist’s needs above their own.
Enablers are often people pleasers and they have a difficult time saying “no” even when they know it’s not in their best interest. Finally, enablers tend to be codependent – that is, they rely on others for approval and validation.
The Enabling Parent
The narcissist’s enabler is a critical component of the narcissistic family dynamic. They are responsible for helping the narcissist to maintain their false persona and protecting them from any potential consequences.
The enabler parent, the golden child and the scapegoat
The enabler parent is usually the one who maintains closest contact with the narcissist. They are responsible for making sure that the narcissist looks good to the outside world and they do whatever it takes to shield the narcissist from any criticism or negative attention. The enabler parent also tends to be the most codependent of all family members.
The golden child is the one who is closest to the enabler parent and they are typically the most spoiled and entitled. They have a close relationship with the narcissist and often act as an extension of them.
The scapegoat is the opposite of the golden child – they are usually the family black sheep. They are constantly in conflict with the narcissist and are often the target of their narcissistic abuse. They often feel betrayed by the enabling parent who does not lift a finger to defend them.
If you have been living in a narcissistic family, it is important to realize that you are not alone. Millions of people have experienced this type of abuse. You can break free from the narcissist’s grip by seeking help and support from loved ones, friends, or professionals.
Breaking free from the enabler role
The truth is that however dedicated the enabler is to the narcissist, they will always be taken for granted. This exacerbates their low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness. They may also feel like they are in a no-win situation, where they can either pleasing the narcissist or facing their wrath.
If you are trapped in an enabling role, there are several things you can do to break free.
The first step is to start setting boundaries with the narcissist. This may be difficult, but it’s important to stand up for yourself and put your own needs first. You deserve to have a healthy and happy life free from the control of the narcissist. Seek out help and support from loved ones or professionals to make this happen. You are not alone in this journey.
You also need to start taking care of yourself emotionally and mentally. This may mean seeking counselling or therapy, or simply spending time with supportive people who will make you feel good about yourself.
Finally, it’s important to build a support system for yourself – people you can rely on when things get tough.
If you know someone who is an enabler of a narcissist, please share this blog post with them. It is important that they understand the role that they are playing in the narcissistic family dynamic and how it is affecting their life. Let them know that there is help and support available to them and encourage them to seek it out. Thank you for your support!
For Further Reading
You might also want to check out the following posts about narcissistic families and the impact of childhood trauma:
- SoNM (Sons of Narcissistic Mothers)
- SoNF (Sons of Narcissistic Fathers)
- DoNF (Daughters of Narcissistic Fathers)
- DoNM (Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers)
- ACoNs (Adult Children of Narcissists)
- Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers: What You Need to Know
- The Narcissistic Family Golden Child
- The Narcissistic Family Scapegoat
- The Narcissistic Parent and the Enabler
- Narcissistic Family Roles: The Complicated Dynamics of Narcissistic Families
- Breaking the Intergenerational Cycle of Family Abuse
- Emotional Abuse as a Child Linked to Adult Chronic Pain
- CAPDR – Child affected by parental relationship distress
- Adverse Childhood Experiences and PTSD: What’s the Connection?
- The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Puberty
- Learning how to Trust and Love after Adverse Childhood Experiences
- Parentification: The Role of the Parentified Child in Narcissistic Families
- What is Codependency and how to overcome it
- Resilience – the ability to bounce back after adversity
- Is the Golden Child destined to become a Narcissist?
- Secrets and Shame: The Corrosive Impact of Family Secrets
- How to Deal with a Narcissistic Sibling: Tips for Navigating Family Drama
- Going through the stages of grief for my lost childhood
- 10 Symptoms of Daughters of Narcissistic Fathers
- The Narcissist Mother – How to Identify and Deal with this Personality Type
And finally, this is my story. I was the scapegoat daughter of a narcissistic father.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. When you use one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me. At no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission, which helps me run this blog and keep my in-depth content free of charge for all my readers.