By Ravena Lee
If one were to lift up the proverbial rug of the vampire community to view what has been swept under it they could not possibly miss Enablers. Enabling is a term often found in the areas of drug and alcohol abuse but it also present in mental health issues and various other things that are considered problems. An Enabler is someone who downplays a serious problem or issue instead of confronting it. They assist the person in their quest to neglect or cover up the problem. Enablers often make excuses for the other party and tolerate destructive, irresponsible, or unhealthy behaviors. There are various reasons why Enablers do what they do but perhaps one of the most common is that they fear offending the person and making them angry and putting a strain on the relationship. Others simply do not like confrontation and prefer to keep the peace at any cost – even if doing so is detrimental to the other party’s health or well being. The reasons why someone enables vary as widely as people do. There are cases where the enabler’s reasons are self serving and not really in the best interest of the other party.
Overview of Enabling
Enabling is not always done with full knowledge, there are a lot of cases where the enabler is ignorant to the fact that they are enabling and they may assume they are just supporting the person or helping them. However, it is essential to determine if the addictive/negative/self destructive/unhealthy behavior is being supported or if the support is geared towards making positive changes. People do not often realize the support they offer is in fact supporting the very behavior or problem they want to change.
Some examples of enabling situations:
The parents of a drug addict who let their grown up offspring stay in their home despite the fact that they continually refuse to acknowledge or get help for their drug abuse. The parent often supports the addict financially or cleans up after them when they are physically ill or destroy parts of the house. If he/she does happen to be employed they may call in sick on their behalf and make excuses for them. The parents hesitate to confront the son/daughter because they think it will somehow make things worse. In reality though, just letting them go on abusing drugs does absolutely nothing to help them. So the support they offer is in fact supporting the drug abuse and not stopping it. If the son/daughter can go on abusing drugs with no consequences they have no motivation to stop. If their bills are being paid for and someone is cleaning up after them and making excuses for them they pretty much have it made in their own eyes. (not withstanding the health issues which they tend to ignore anyway)
Alcoholism in the Family
Children often suffer the consequences of alcoholic parents. They are enablers generally because they are not equipped to deal with the problems of their parents, nor should they have that responsibility. Unfortunately, it is often only the children in a household who see the alcoholism. Children will often clean up after their drunken parents and make excuses for them – this makes it easy for the parent to be an alcoholic. Children are especially vulnerable because they rely on their parents to take care of them and confronting a hostile parent about their alcohol abuse may not always be the safest option for them.
Spouses of alcoholics enable them in the same way a child would – except an adult is better equipped and in a better position to bring about change. Cleaning up the mess after a drunken binge, making excuses for the alcohol abuse and bad behavior, and not confronting an alcoholic about their drinking all falls under the umbrella of enabling.
We have all heard the stories about one part of a couple trying to lose weight and the other half doing things that supports the bad habits. The “aww it’s okay if you eat a whole cake, you’ve had a bad day at work” sort of people. Smoking is another common one. There are many different forms of enabling when it comes to unhealthy lifestyles.
About Enabling in the Vampire Community
Enabling in the vampire community is present in all of its forms. However, there is one type of enabling that seems to be the most common by far. Enabling a mental illness is all the rage. An unstable person is often encouraged to keep believing their delusions and encouraged to stay away from reality. The various vampire forums and chat rooms are a natural haven for any unstable person because most of the time they will find a lot of supporters, people who are in essence helping them maintain or expand their delusions. The exact reason why there is such a great amount of enabling is a mystery – but it may have something to do with the fantasy world some people create for themselves and vampirism. There are numerous individuals claiming to be vampires and not all of them are vampires. Often such people desperately want to be a vampire so they somehow justify it within themselves with varying things that they suppose are the “symptoms” that prove what they are. They create an identity for themselves that isn’t really based in reality and they can live this out either in the online context or the offline gatherings and events that are available to them. These individuals are generally more than glad to offer their “support” to the unstable people since they aren’t exactly the picture of stability themselves. Although they identify themselves with being a vampire, they may be “okay” otherwise. They support others because they empathize with their plight of being misunderstood or being an outsider, feeling isolated, or being considered strange by society. This is not to say there are no genuine people in the vampire community, the point is that not everyone in it by default is genuine. This is true in any subculture.
So, in their misguided “niceness” and trying to “help” enablers often do more damage than anything else. Sometimes the unstable people form alliances and help each other further their delusions. For those who are doubting this, I have observed the following:
Demon Possession (telling a teen child his violent tendencies and other things were due to demon possession *and* encouraging him not to see a doctor for his issues because they could help him get the demon out)
Child Abuse (demons being used as an excuse as to why the person’s baby had a broken leg – a demon had attacked the baby)
Astral Pregnancy (complete with back pains, morning sickness etc) There has also been situations with false pregnancy where women convince themselves they are pregnant so therefore their body follows suit in terms of the symptoms of pregnancy. It wouldn’t be surprising if this false pregnancy corresponded with the astral pregnancy issue in some cases.
Cyber Rape (someone claiming to be a rape victim – having been raped online in text, guess they didn’t know how to close that chat window)
Feeding a baby blood (the mother was convinced the newborn was a vampire because she could “sense” it so fed her baby blood as well as formula.
Drug Abuse (it was okay for them to abuse any drug because as vampires they could metabolize in such a way that it wouldn’t harm them or have any ill effects like I would with a “human”.) Or it was okay for them to take drugs because of their problems (poor them) and were discouraged from seeking professional help for various addictions.
Miscarriage (blaming a miscarriage on a “psychic attack” and not being able to feed on blood)
These are just a small sample of the things I’ve observed, there are many more incidents.
Another common way enabling happens in the vampire community is through support of someone’s delusions of grandeur. A 20 year old calling himself an “elder” in the community for example. A man who prances around in goth clothes referring to donors as “cattle” and “food” because he is supposedly superior to humans. Not only do the people donate to him and allow themselves to be such a doormat, the guy’s vampiric peers don’t bother to correct him. Envisioning oneself as a powerful being separate from humans is pretty much a very telling sign of some sort of mental problem .(pardon me to those who are very powerful vampires merely trapped in a human body) Some individuals make money from their vampirism which may or may not be good, depending on the situation. The enabling problem happens when the person stands to make a profit from whatever they are doing yet they have a support system that makes them out to be some sort of vampiric saint. Why does it happen? Because no one is there to call them on it, they surround themselves only with the people who will support their delusions of grandeur. Further, they will “blacklist” anyone who doesn’t automatically agree with them. Apparently, you can take the vamp out of the high school cafeteria, but you can’t take the high school cafeteria out of the vamp. The people who care about being accepted and maybe would have a difficult time without the company of the delusions of grandeur vamps have the most to lose ceasing to enable.
The problem does not seem to be close to letting up in the near future and it is mostly because so few people are willing to stand up and say “Hey, you need to get some medical help”. If people did not enable the individuals with mental illness and delusion issues (along with other problems) then the person would find it very difficult to continue in their delusions. Alas, backbones are in short supply because most people just want to fit in and not “rock the boat”. There is a lot of talk in the vampire community about awakening – hopefully more people will wake up to the enabling problem and stop enabling.
Some ways to combat enabling:
Do not make excuses to yourself or others for someone’s irrational or destructive behavior.(this applies to drug and/or alcohol abuse, delusions and/or various mental illness, and other problems)
Do not lie for the person.
If you make a threat make sure you are willing to back it up and follow through. If you tell someone they will be removed from your group events if they continue their behaviors, make sure they are in fact not allowed to attend the events.
If the person makes any kind of mess either of a situation, relationship, or a physical place, don’t clean up after them.
No need to get into a screaming argument about the issue because the person will never be convinced that they need help. Instead, refuse to get into the discussions in which you are expected to entertain their destructive and/or unhealthy behaviors. There’s only so many times you can dance this dance with someone so if you have already told them countless times they aren’t living in reality, one more time probably won’t make the difference.
Take every opportunity to advocate common sense, seeking help for issues, and dispelling any la la land myths that may happen in any conversations or forums. The person already lost in la la land may not want to listen to you, but there are still many impressionable people who *might* not choose the la la land path if they see enough information against that.
ALWAYS encourage people to seek professional help and NEVER diagnose someone with vampirism or otherkinness or whatever the case is – this is something someone needs to learn on their own or it won’t be as valuable. The practical reason for that is that not everyone is right 100% of the time, so you could tell someone that they are _______ and be horribly wrong. This could cause some major problems and may even damage the person mentally or spiritually.
Refrain from putting the troubled people in positions of leadership in any capacity – this includes things like being a chat room host, a forum moderator, or any position where their influence over others might be increased because of the role they hold in a forum, chat room, or even an offline situation. Impressionable people might think that because the person holds the position that they should listen to what they say – this would then breed a whole new set of delusional people or persons with the other problems like addiction etc.
Find others who are also working on not enabling people. These can be people who do not enable or those who are making a conscious effort to get out of the habit. It’s nice to have some support.
Encourage balance. It’s no secret that certain things are unseen. The problem with those affected by mental illness or other problems is that they lose the balance and have little or no concept of reality.
The vampire community itself plays host to all sorts of delusions and mental illnesses because people with these issues are ‘different’ and more readily accepted by a community that understands being different and not fitting in. If you think there’s a chance you might be enabling something negative like an addiction, mental illness, or delusions, and you no longer wish to be an enabler, please take a moment to check out the links following this article. If more people take a stand on this issue it would really help the affected people to get help for their problems instead of being encouraged to hold onto them. You can use Google to search for additional information.
© 2005 Ravena Lee
You can check out the characteristics of enabling personality at http://www.coping.org/lowesteem/enable.htm#
The Nation’s Voice On Mental Illness
Resources to Suicide help lines worldwide
Mental Illness: Information for Families (could also be adapted to other loved ones and friends) http://www.healthyplace.com/communities/depression/related/support_3.asp
Drug Abuse Info http://www.drugfree.org/
Support for alcoholics
If your life is affected by someone’s drinking