• Share. Be Supported. Recover.

    We are a friendly, safe community supporting each other's mental health. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Enmeshment

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,634
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
Enmeshment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Salvador Minuchin introduced the concept of enmeshment to describe families where personal boundaries were diffuse, sub-systems undifferentiated, and over-concern for others led to a loss of autonomous development.[1] Enmeshed in parental needs, trapped in a discrepant role function,[2] a child may lose his or her capacity for self-direction;,[3] his/her own distinctiveness, under the weight of psychic incest;[4] and, if family pressures increase, may end up becoming the identified patient or family scapegoat.[5]Enmeshment was also used by John Bradshaw to describe a state of cross-generational bonding within a family, whereby a child (normally of the opposite sex) becomes a surrogate spouse for their mother or father.[6]

The term is sometimes applied to engulfing codependent relationships[7] where an unhealthy symbiosis is in existence.[8]

For the toxically enmeshed child, the adult's carried feelings may be the only ones they know, outweighing and eclipsing their own.[9]
 

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,634
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
Codependency - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Codependency

Codependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.[1] Among the core characteristics of codependency, the most common theme is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and identity.[1]
 

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,634
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
Dysfunctional family

Dysfunctional family - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A dysfunctional family is a family in which conflict, misbehavior, and often child neglect or abuse on the part of individual parents occur continually and regularly, leading other members to accommodate such actions. Children sometimes grow up in such families with the understanding that such an arrangement is normal. Dysfunctional families are primarily a result of co-dependent adults,[1] and may also be affected by addictions, such as substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, etc.), or sometimes an untreated mental illness.[1] Dysfunctional parents may emulate or over-correct from their own dysfunctional parents. In some cases, a "child-like" parent will allow the dominant parent to abuse their children.[1]

Common features
Near universal

Some features are common to most dysfunctional families:

Lack of empathy, understanding, and sensitivity towards certain family members, while expressing extreme empathy towards one or more members (or even pets) who have real or perceived "special needs". In other words, one family member continuously receives far more than he or she deserves, while another is marginalized.

Denial (refusal to acknowledge abusive behavior, possibly believing that the situation is normal or even beneficial; also known as the "elephant in the room.")

Inadequate or missing boundaries for self (e.g. tolerating inappropriate treatment from others, failing to express what is acceptable and unacceptable treatment, tolerance of physical, emotional or sexual abuse.)

Disrespect of others' boundaries (e.g. physical contact that other person dislikes; breaking important promises without just cause; purposefully violating a boundary another person has expressed)

Extremes in conflict (either too much fighting or insufficient peaceful arguing between family members)

Unequal or unfair treatment of one or more family members due to their birth order, gender, age, family role (mother, etc.), abilities, race, caste, etc. (may include frequent appeasement of one member at the expense of others, or an uneven enforcement of rules)
 

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,634
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
i can identify to degrees with these areas & also see a lot of aspects of it all within some other people/other family dynamics as well, to various degrees.

i don't think it's the entire story - but i do think there is some truth/sense in these areas.

Suppose more the question is how to let it all go, heal, forgive, & move on with it all. There is a lot that i feel resides below the surface & it's hard to more fully resolve certain things.

i think families through the generations involve a lot of deep & complex dynamics, & i think it's hard to fundamentally heal & resolve certain generational chains, traumas, pain & patterns.

i find the blame issue very difficult. Trying to not blame, & feeling blamed/self blame. Society seems very shame/blame based.
 
Last edited:
AliceinWonderland

AliceinWonderland

Well-known member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Jan 25, 2012
Messages
15,700
Location
UK
Thanks for these cpu, I hope to have chance to think about this area and mull it over. Cheers x
 
Jimny

Jimny

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2015
Messages
307
Location
Essex
Some good references there CPU, thank you.
Enmeshment has been very confusing for me recently, I mistook it for all kinds of things, being deeply in love (finding the one), brainwashing (blame) and psychosis, my own and others (blame).
I now recognise I have had problems with enmeshment throughout my life, it took an extreme to make me realise. Such a long period is going to take some undoing, recognising the blame and then shifting it to ones self (still blame) seems to be the process for me.
Work in progress.
 
Last edited:
M

Michelledubois

New member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Messages
3
So, seems everyone understands enmeshment to a degree, but how have you (anyone) got through it? I am in a relationship but have lived with enmeshment issues all my life.

I am feeling pain at the moment because my partner is away for a week and a half. I am feeling abandoned and insignificant.

Suggestions, thoughts please.
 

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,634
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
So, seems everyone understands enmeshment to a degree, but how have you (anyone) got through it? I am in a relationship but have lived with enmeshment issues all my life.

I am feeling pain at the moment because my partner is away for a week and a half. I am feeling abandoned and insignificant.

Suggestions, thoughts please.
Hi Michelle, it's an old thread. i'm Not really sure that a lot of people do fully realise or are mindful of the concepts in this thread?

What i feel sums everything up, for me, is acceptance. Acceptance of the past, myself & other people. Gratitude, Forgiveness & Acceptance.

Letting go of all the Blame & Control & allowing everything to be as it is; good, bad & indifferent.

Working as far as possible on a focus on healing & transforming my own inner World (thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, reactions/responses), through non judgemental awareness/observation/mindfulness.

What kind of things have you tried & where are you at with it all?
 
M

Michelledubois

New member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Messages
3
Thank you for responding. I have been in counselling for over a year where I discuss this, amongst other things. I have read a book by Sue Johnson (I think she's called). I try to disengage from the behaviour and try to acknowledge my feelings and express myself more. I seemed to be doing well, then I sort of relalise the separateness between my partner and me and get overwhelmed again. We live together part of the week which has always been strange for me. We will be apart longer than usual leading up to Christmas and it's all of the sudden hitting me.

I allowed the feelings to be there and I voiced them so that I do actually have a voice. But it just gets a bit weird. Stresses of Christmas with two homes and two families. We have grown children and grandchildren which makes for more strain.

Just seems like I take two steps forward and two steps back sometimes. Still can't shake the feelings it leaves behind, fears it brings up. Like a monkey on my back.
 

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,634
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
Just seems like I take two steps forward and two steps back sometimes. Still can't shake the feelings it leaves behind, fears it brings up. Like a monkey on my back.
Feel that all we can really do is to make some progress from the people that we have been & do our best within the resources that we have. Life certainly isn't easy, especially within this current society/system.
 
Kerome

Kerome

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
12,752
Location
Europe
Personally I'd react to these things with some insight meditation, just sitting with my thoughts reflecting on the topic, and letting it associate freely and see where it takes me. If you can clear your mind of other thoughts, this way some of the connections your mind makes will become clear, and often underlying causes of the way you act and think will also clarify themselves. You let things emerge by themselves, and emotive or troubling factors will often push their way to the surface.

But Christmas is always difficult, it is a busy and stressful time which is always likely to bring out the trouble spots in relationships and people. I remember my stepmother, now deceased, with whom I had a difficult relationship at times.
 
Top