Making Sacrifices Can Hurt


I was thinking about something today. It’s about what we have to do to get ahead in our society. It’s what we have to do to reach the goals we set for ourselves. It’s what everyone has to do to make their dreams come true, if they really want them to.

If anything is really important to you, you have to do this: MAKE SACRIFICES. But making sacrifices can hurt.

Here’s what I mean. I got the following email the other day from someone who tells it this way:


I have a husband Bill who has bipolar disorder. Usually he is pretty good. Well at least he was
for a long time. So I went out and got a job. This was good for awhile. But then he went into a deep depression. He wouldn’t do anything. He would get up and he would get out of bed, but only to go to the couch. When I left for work, he would be on the couch, and when I got home from work, he would still be on that couch. And nothing would be done around the house.

I started to get mad, because I would be tired from work and have to come home and do everything around the house, too. But this wouldn’t even bother him because he was so

I started to think that it was because of me working that he was so depressed, so I sacrificed
my job just to stay home and take care of him. But he isn’t any better. And now all the bills
from his bipolar disorder are mounted up and are getting bigger, and we don’t have any way
to pay for them because I don’t have my job any more.

I don’t even know what to do. I can’t work because I need to take care of Bill, but if I don’t
work, we don’t have the money to pay for his bills for his bipolar disorder. I am so frustrated, I feel like giving up myself.

Help me, Dorothy.


See, the thing is…MAKING SACRIFICES CAN HURT YOU. In other words, you can sacrifice so much that it hurts.

Enabling is when you do things that allow your loved one to continue doing unacceptable behavior. This is bad for both of you.

Like with Dorothy in the email. Yes, she made a sacrifice for her husband in quitting work to stay home and take care of him and his bipolar disorder. And on the surface that seems like a good thing. It seems like something she should be congratulated for, actually. Like she’s being a super supporter.

But is she really? Actually, she is being an enabler, when you really look at it. And she is hurting both of them (remember, she talked about the bills?) They are at least being hurt financially.

The better sacrifice would be if she got Bill the help he really needed. For her, she should be able to work if that’s what she wants. It is NOT her responsibility to stay at home and take care of her husband.

He is an adult and he should take care of himself, in spite of the fact that he has bipolar disorder.
If he is in a depressive episode and is laying around on the couch every day depressed, he does need help. Rather than her quitting her job, it sounds like maybe he needs a change in his medication.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


  1. but that’s a Parents job – sometimes making excuses – unconditional the love of a child.

    My colleague David was 74 years old and he has grown daughters who the cards dealt a “severe hand that not even soap and water could wash” however they would just cry all day long; Pretend they are just on a neverending train ride and their destination has not been reached yet. He thinks they can do no wrong. It’s ok to dismiss mates, friends etc. They are all married, seen, admired on the exterior but they go about their days as if they have no mates. That’s a sacrifice not to mention a partner willing to go along with this game…….

    I usually joke with them saying “Daughters of David” dont you think you are a bit spoiled? but their Dad thinks they are “perfect princesses” what can we say after that?

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