“Enabling” vs Genuinely Supporting

A family member has made many bad decisions in her life. She has a poor credit rating, rental issues, much debt and an unplanned pregnancy. She is jobless & homeless (living with me). Baby is due in a month. Matters are complicated; she suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. See comments.

Sarah Bowman
Sarah Bowman, studied family dynamics formally and informally all my life

This is indeed a complex issue. Please note, I have no access to the “comments” you mention. There is no link. However, given that she is eight months pregnant means that her and the baby’s medical health is top priority for the moment. That you let her live with you is very kind of you and right. You are doing the right thing. Beyond the pregnancy, she will also need medical evaluation regarding her mental health, and possibly permanent disability support. Her so-called bad choices may come from lack of this support and compassion. Supporting a person with a disability is not “enabling” as in covering up for bad behaviour; it is taking care of a disabled person.

A mental disability is called an invisible disability and may be harder to comprehend as a “real” disability because the person appears to be physically sound and healthy. However, the ability to get out of bed in the morning and go to work every day may not exist. Nor the ability to take the responsibility and bumps and bruises of daily life on the job. Many jurisdictions have social assistance to support such people on a minimum lifestyle, to provide them the basics of life: shelter, food, clothes, and medical care. You may wish to look into this as a possibility for her and her child’s future. At the same time, you may wish to remain closely involved in their lives to ensure she takes her meds, that the child is cared for, and that they are generally okay.

Hopefully she will cooperate.


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