If you are reading this blog, no doubt you have been deeply wounded by someone with exaggerated self-interest—a widespread malady that is hijacking our attitudes, conduct and relationships today. The psychological label for this affliction is narcissism which in 1914 psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud defined as a “pathological obsession with the self to the exclusion of all others.” Indeed, narcissists are the ones who walk into a room and say “Here I am!” and care only that you are in the room to adore and worship them. If you don’t, you will be ignored. Or dumped like yesterday’s trash.
This blog compares the Cain and Abel story to the current-day narcissistic relationships. In other words, it helps the reader to understand the self-absorbed, demeaning, manipulative, controlling, and competitive narcissist and how to stop being a do-gooder and losing yourself.
Like the ancient Abel who was portrayed as the innocent and unwitting victim of an unjust action—“whose innocent blood cried to God from the ground”—today’s Enabler is a trusting soul at the mercy of deceit and mistreatment of a manipulative, modern-day cainist. Her main fault is that she places others’ needs before her own. And that is the crux of The Cain and Enabler Complex; The Enabler is the Biblical sacrificed lamb all for the glory of Cain who thinks he’s God.
According to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, an enabler is “one who enables another to achieve an end; especially: one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior.” The enabler puts others needs ahead of her own. In doing so, she dismisses or ignores her own needs and feelings. Her self-esteem is dependent on how well she pleases others or takes care of them. She’s afraid that Cain won’t like her if she stops indulging his demands.
I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health therapist trained to diagnose personality disorders. I am a social worker, author and survivor of countless cainistic relationships from family to friends, colleagues to bosses, leaders to ministers, and other professionals and non-professionals that negatively affected my life .
When you grow up encircled by this selfish behavior, you draw them into your life like a moth to a flame. It was all I knew. That is, until the pain became so immense, I broke free. And that is when I started to educate myself by reading everything I could about narcissism. In so doing, I could stand back and view the self-destructive connection. Only then was the cycle broken.
I hope the lessons I learned can spare others the devastation that unidentified cainism inflicts on its targets. I hope the information on this blog helps reader understand why certain self-centered relationships are traumatic and filled with daily drama, and why Enablers repetitively respond the way they do. It’s impossible to put the genie back in the bottle. But Enablers can learn from their mistakes. Unfortunately, Cain can’t. He repeats the same one-dimensional conduct day after day, decade after decade, usually for a lifetime with no hope for change. But the Enabler can learn how to recognize the behavior, stop responding to Cain’s hotspots, re-program her life, and change Cain’s ability to influence her negatively.
Dianne was a social worker for 16 years and an author who has been published in over 150 national and international magazines and newspapers. She has two books: A Maze of Grace: Claiming Your Twelve Powers; and A Maze of Grace Prayers. She is currently working on The Cain and Enabler Complex: Understanding the’My Way or No Way’ Relationship.