TW: Self harm
Anon: I self harm to regain my bodily autonomy. I know it’s not good, but I’m not ready to stop yet. my partner knows and understands why so he doesn’t try to stop me. He is there for me when I need him, I don’t have to hide or feel ashamed, I feel like he’s great about everything. Yesterday he said something though “There is a line between letting you make your own choices and being an enabler. I don’t know where that line is.” Can you shed some light on this? When does he become an enabler?
FYSE: I would honestly talk to him about it, because it sounds more like he’s afraid that he is enabling you to continue self harming.
An enabler is someone who encourages through their actions destructive behavior, like someone buying an alcoholic liquor, giving someone the money to buy drugs, or buying drugs for someone. He may feel like what he’s doing is encouraging your self harming but that’s not necessarily true.
With things like self harm or eating disorders or substance abuse, your behavior is a symptom not the problem. What I and a lot of other resources say to do when your loved one has harmful behavior is to help them deal with the underlying problem. So in this case talking about how you feel about your body, whatever triggers your self harm behavior, and about bodily autonomy. Also encouraging you to seek help. Unless it gets bad enough that your life is in danger, it’s usually the opposite of helpful to do something like tell an adult or call a doctor on you or put you in a hospital against your will. That just destroys the trust and unless you’re in a place where you want to stop the destructive behavior you’re probably not going to stop. All that a loved one can do is be there for you, talk to you about what you’re going through and try to help get you to a place where you can stop.
Hopefully this will help him feel less like an enabler.