Taking too much from the social landscape, or giving too much are equally harmful. The enabler and the addict are examples of the destructive imbalance of giving and taking that can emerge and perpetuate themselves in human relationships. From a wide angle lens view the addict and the enabler are like the “tick and tock” sounds from the same relationship clock. The pendulum arc of this destructive relationship cycle swings through whole generations. Addict parents tend to produce enabler children who then spend their lives looking for unpleasable tyrants and impossible situations that they believe they need to please or solve. They think they failed because they’re not good enough when they finally collapse under the weight of the impossible. If the people in the enabler’s life are not demanding enough, they will project impossible demands on themselves in order to preserve their self-image as a failure. It is a recipe for frustration.
Enabler parents tend produce addict children by catering to their every whim. Hovering over their children and cutting off crusts while dancing like clowns, enabler’s bury their kids in the expectation that other people are responsible to entertain and appease their ever growing whims. These people grow up to have great expectations for everyone else and when those people inevitably fail to meet the addicts suffocating demands and collapse, the addict is not capable of concern for the people they buried in service to them, they wonder why bad things happen to them and mad that the person who collapsed will no longer be there to serve them.
This addict/enabler model is the systemic model of destructive giving and taking. Destructive taking can take on the form of narcissism or sociopathy, but the theme of destructive taking is a global tread that runs through them all. The same is true that destructive giving can take many forms. Some of these can create suffocating dependencies and the like. Not all destructive giving and taking falls into the addict/enabler model, but the idea here is to illustrate what happens when giving and getting become imbalanced. It has a tendency to propagate the imbalance, swinging back and forth in an eratic wave pattern.
When we look for what to address in our lives or our world, balance is the key to understanding.