No Enablers: Be Helpful But Not Too Helpful

No Enablers: Be Helpful But Not Too Helpful January 5, 2019

So we’re back into the hot mess that is Michael and Debi Pearl’s latest issue of No Greater Joy magazine. One of Michael’s followers  has asked him about how to be a help meet without being an enabler. Fair question, interesting topic, but you know that Michael is going to take it to a silly place, or a woman-blaming bout of Biblical Twister. No enablers: Be helpful but not too helpful.

We start with this:

I think the Pearl’s definitions aren’t great here, certainly not for those who are suffering. There are times and seasons in our lives where we might just be discouraged, upset or frustrated. Justly or unjustly. Good reasons, or no reasons. Turning to your closest friend to vent about those things isn’t wrong. Having that person turn to you and sympathize isn’t wrong, and it’s certainly not enabling. It can be an important part of processing whatever is going on with you.

Example: The last few days I’ve been having a very rough time with the fact that my stroke recovery seems to have hit a wall. I am seeing no improvement in my energy levels, running out of gas mid-afternoon many days. After talking to my doctor and loads of friends and family who’ve had mini strokes and discovering that this may be it, as much energy as I ever get back I was beyond discouraged. I complained, I cried, I threw a nice pity party complete with doughnuts.

My husband, worried as he was, asked what he could do to help. I had to tell him he could do nothing but listen with sympathy for me, and to give me some space to process. I ended up going off for a long drive yesterday in the beautiful countryside, stopping to listen to music in my car while overlooking the most beautiful beach at Playa Pan del Sucre. I got over it, wrestled my mental way through my new reality and came home in a much improved state. I was able to stop my crying and complaining and had thought about ways to deal.

Had he done something like what Michael seems to be suggesting here, telling me to suck it up and stop whining or ignored what was going on,  I can guarantee that it would have taken much longer to get to that space in my mind where it’s all good.

I know Michael is making a distinction between sad circumstances with understandable inner pain and people that love whining but we all know that in the worldview of Michael and Debi Pearl there are few, if any, circumstances where a bout of sadness or self pity would be deemed acceptable. But real life is not like that.

Now for the part with such insane levels of cognitive dissonance that you know would NEVER happen in Pearl World:

It’s pretty clear to see that Michael Pearl does not understand what an actual enabler is. While a wife that agrees with her husband’s crackpot theories might be an enabler it does not necessarily follow that she is one. An enabler in Michael’s scenario of the unemployed man might say something like, ‘Honey, you’re too good for that job anyway’ after a failed job interview, or something like, ‘Rest while you can because I just know God is working it all out for our favor.’

Enablers excuse and cover, they say things like a man might say of his alcoholic wife slipping and having a forbidden drink, ‘She’s had a rough day and needs that drink.’ Or an enabling mother of a bully might say, ‘He does not mean anything at all by punching your kid. He just has high spirits’ None of this is quite the same thing that Michael is talking about here.

But you know what it is? All the ways Debi Pearl has covered for and excused her husband Michael in the public eye over the years. Debi has been the ultimate in enablers in trying to justify his cruelty as Godly.

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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 32 years. You can read more about the author here.

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