The pivotal question still remains, how is the line drawn between enabling meant to keep my 12 year old daughter, Julia, out of a spiraling hysteria where what little is stable all collapses and enabling which is causing more harm than good? Many experts agree, enabling reinforces the sufferers symptoms. However, they don’t detail exactly what constitutes enabling, specifically. Are there not many levels of enabling?

  • Is great harm caused if Julia needs me to wash my hands because they’ve become “contaminated” as I accidentally brushed by the shirt sleeve she wore to school? Knowing if I don’t, she will watch every move I make from then on and all in which I touch, by default, becomes contaminated and, thus, requires ritualistic sterilization?
  • Is great harm caused if she must Lysol our car because she rode in it after school 8 weeks ago, has not been in it since, and “knows” it is still contaminated? Should this be allowed? She won’t get into the car until decontamination is complete. Should I physically force her into the car? Thereby, disallowing enabling?
  • Is great harm caused if I don’t physically remove her from the horrible “decontamination shower” rituals after every school day? They go on for hours, but she can’t seem to do it differently. I have to make it stop but don’t know how. I feel I’ve tried everything! What level, if any, of enabling is this?
  • Is great harm caused if we use the supermarket checkout isles 3, 7, or 8 if she is currently contaminated from that day at school and those are the “contaminated” isles or use checkout 2, 4 or 6 if she is “clean.” Because, if we use 3, 7 or 8 when she is “clean” then she will no longer be “clean” because she has used them at some point in the past while “contaminated” and thus be subject to compulsively reengage in her endless shower routine to rid herself of the invisible contamination?

Due to her RA, speaking to her about any of these issues catapults her into a crying frenzy. She repeatedly states, “Mommy you just don’t get it, you just don’t understand!” “You just make it all worse when you talk to me about my OCD,” Some experts profess, if you can’t get the sufferer to stop then you must try to disengage from the sufferers activities and allow the sufferer to continue their rituals on their own. Thereby, by disengaging you have a chance to maintain your own sanity.

But, as said in the prior Enabling post, without any form of enabling Julia looses her ability to cope all together and her grades plummet, the symptoms multiply to levels which are even more impossible to express, and the world in which we inhabit seemingly ceases to exist. We become victims of the victims. Therefore, the initial, pivotal question still remains. Where does one draw the line?

1 Comment
  1. sdluna 10 years ago

    Honestly, I don't know what to say.  She really needs help, but if she won't take it, I just don't know. 

    As a mother, I've got to say that at this point I would probably make therapy a condition of any type of reward, including friends, phone, internet, tv, video games, etc.  I just don't know if this would work though and you've probably tried it all.

    It sounds like it's destroying both of your lives.  If you can't get her into therapy, then the last thing I would suggest is that you get therapy on your own to learn how to deal with her.

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