Here are some examples of less-common addictions or problematic behaviors, and the enabling that often accompanies them:

  1. Gambling. Playing poker with friends can be harmless and fun, abut some people can take an entire paycheck or even a lifetime of savings to the race track or casino, and blow through all of it.  In this situation, an enabler may provide rent or grocery money, rather than allowing the gambler to go through an eviction, which could be a necessary consquence of gambling away all funds.
  2. Stealing.Kleptomania is a recognized mental disorder that compels individuals to compulsively steal.  The love one of a kleptomaniac may lie to police to cover up the crimes, rather than allowing the addict to face criminal charges.
  3. Sex or Pornograph.  A person who is addicted to sex or pornography is controlled by their compulsion and finds relief from the misuse of their natural sex drives.  The spouse of a porn addict may enable the behavior by minimizing his or her own feelings about the damage it causes, or may come across as unconcerned that young children may find the material in the house.  Enabling may take the form of nonchalace over the addiction, even if it causes a great deal of internal pain.
  4. Working.  People have to work to pay the bills, but work can also become the cornerstone of an individual's life.  An enabler may find him-or herself internally blaming the employer for their unfair expectations, rather than directly addressing the workaholic's choice to remain late at the office every night.

Enabling isn't something that is done out of male violence or disregard: rather, it's a set of behaviors that usually begin from a place of care and concern.

In a classic example, the wife of an alcoholic enables her husband to continue drinking by making excuses for his behavior or restocking the refrigerator with beer to prevent an outburst.  At first glance, the wife's behavior appears kind and thoughtful.  She has prevented her husband from facing uncomfortable consequences a work due to a hangover if she calls in sick for him.  Additionally, she has also warded off an angry outburst directed at the children when the refrigerator is out of beer.

Many spouses of alchoholics are also managing the threat of physical or emotional harm when they enable a problem drinking behavior.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 is a source prior to making any moves to cease the behavior.