I submit that the difference between "enabling" and "helping" is that help must be asked for. Many times enabling is caused by the enabler being stressed out about a situation, and not willing to wait for the person actually involved to figure it out.
I admit that I've done this just yesterday at work, rather than letting a co-worker figure out their coding mistakes, I just re-wrote the code myself. It was the stress I'm feeling over the time to complete tasks more than my feeling bad for the co-worker that led to this action.
So now I've been dealing with a pair of enablers my whole life, and recently they swooped in with some more enabling, and I'm having to deal with the effects of it. Specifically, my kitchen sink was not working - and this also affected the dish washer.
Other sinks were working, the bathrooms were fine, and also the clothes washer. Basically this was just shutting down the kitchen, which as a bachelor farmer, I don't use that much anyway. In the post-Christmas bill avalanche that comes every year I have to spread out bills as much as possible. Since this issue was not stopping me from living it was put at the end of my list.
So, at some point in the near future I would be able to take care of the sink, and feel the accomplishment of my plan working. Also, I would be happy to have the sink back. If you read my previous post about things I was planning to do to make the kitchen work better, I was planning to buy a dish tub to hold dry dishes until I could get around to washing. I did this, and it was actually helping with this situation.
Not super pretty, but handled until I could get the sink fixed. Then the enablers swoop in and fix the sink while I'm at work unable to do or say anything about it. Thus, the motivation of successfully completing all the tasks on my plan is denied me. This kind of thing could really derail me.
So this is the real damage that enabling has done to me. I'm not suddenly going to just depend on others to take care of stuff, but I lost the opportunity for that motivational boost to help me through other projects. I'm re-wiring my brain to be able to accept this as part of the plan right now. I'll pay the enablers back when I was planning to take care of the original project, whether they want it or not.
I think we enablers need to learn that help needs to be asked for, and also that our own personal stress is not an excuse to interfere with other people's lives. Before I force my help on someone again I'm going to do some inner reflection, and ask them if they want help. If they don't, I won't.