“The King is Naked!”
That is the shout from a little boy in a parade who was the only person in a kingdom able to speak truthfully to the king.
This story is titled ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ written by a Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.
If you have never heard this story, be my guest for a short summary.
In a certain kingdom arrives some swindlers who purport to be weavers. They convince the king that they are able to make him one of the most expensive and unique gowns ever weaved for royalty. The king full of himself and consumed by vanity agrees to have the gown made for him. The weavers demand for all sorts of expensive materials from expensive stones to yarn for this one of a kind gown. They are given a room in the royal palace to work on the gown. In characteristic swindler fashion they inform the king and his attendants that one of the outstanding features of this unique gown they are working on is the fact that it is invisible. So even when the king’s men come to inspect the work and find ‘nothing’ happening they are told it is because the gown is invisible. Only the weavers can see it.
D-day of parading the gown arrives and the entire kingdom lines up the streets to see the king in his new gown. The weavers meticulously dress the king in the invisible gown as his handlers look and applause. The king then walks out of the palace majestically with the royal crown on his and his invisible gown. I think the kingdom has already been informed of this unique character of the gown. People are clapping and ululating and congratulating the king.
Until a young boy from the crowd shouts!
“The king is naked!”
The shame. The embarrassment. The realisation that the king and his men have been duped.
They run to the palace and of course the swindlers have ran off with their loot of precious stones and yarn.
Who they are and What they do
This story above is a classic example of who enablers are and what they do.
Enablers fuel you consciously or unconsciously on a path of self destruction.
The first form of enablers are unfortunately the unconscious and involuntary enablers.For example in the cases of Mental and Emotional Violence, the victims unfortunately are unconscious enablers of their perpetrators. This is especially so because the number one response to Mental and Emotional Violence within a family set up is SILENCE.
We have a saying in my mother tongue “Ngoma iturikaga ni guthinjirwo” loosely translated ‘what you feed you empower’ Silence feeds the perpetrator to become more abrasive and punitive in their violence. The warped reality of this kind of enablement causes me so much pain.
The other form of enablement is conscious enablement. This is cases where a person knows very well that their friend or family member is engaging in wrong doing or taking a path of destruction but they urge them on. They can do this through silence and withdrawal or through active encouragement.
You know your friend has joined the wife batterers club and you do not say a word . . .
You know that your married friend is sleeping around but you sweep it under the carpet everytime you meet . . .
You know that your friend is drinking one two many, and you chose to buy them more drinks . . .
You know that your friend is stealing, violent crimes or the pen/keyboard kinda thieves, and you look the other side and worse still enjoy with the them the fruit of their vice . . .
You watch your friend slip away from the faith they once held dear and you chose to whisper behind their backs and keep your mouth shut while with them . . .
The greatest fueling force behind both unconscious/involuntary and conscious/voluntary enablers is FEAR.
They are afraid of the Oppressor/Abuser or person they are enabling.
Given a choice between confronting this person and sitting back and hoping/allowing them to self destruct they chose the later.
This is really unfortunate because for most of the conscious/voluntary enablers, they claim to love the person they are enabling.
The second reason in my observation is IGNORANCE. You do not know any better so you do not do better. After all that is the way Oppressors/Bullies/Abusers have been dealt with since time immemorial.
I have a problem with this second reason. I believe that at some point in the middle and heading to your way out of it a person must begin to take responsibility for the choices and decisions they make in life. It is no longer feasible to blame culture, upbringing, society and peers for every instant in life that you chose not to do better. Unfortunately, some of us have cloaked ourselves in such excuses all through to adulthood and many of us have actively used such excuses to become conscious and voluntary enablers.
For the victims of Emotional and Mental Violence, I extend a warm hug. I feel you deep deep. My heart goes out to you in so many ways. The warped reality of being a victim of emotional and Mental Violence as well as an enabler at the same time is overwhelming.
I have no advice for you. I offer no solution. But if you may please allow me to let you in on something that I know does go a long way in getting back up.
- Get yourself a village
To the conscious/voluntary enablers, would you please rethink your life choices and choose to do better?
If not for yourself for those who look up to you to set the pace.