Understanding Enmeshment

Enmeshment is a relationship style in which an individual becomes completely intertwined with another person, typically a parent or a partner, to the point of losing their own identity. It is a covert style that involves copying the mechanisms, mannerisms, and identity of the other person in an attempt to gain their love, recognition, and validation.

Enmeshment can provide short-term benefits by receiving love and validation, but in the long run, it leads to feelings of emptiness, depression, and resentment. This relationship style can occur within a one-on-one relationship, a family dynamic, and even collectively on a larger scale.

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This blog is generated by AI based on our video about this topic. You can watch our video below. Prefer to read on? Just scroll down below the video. 

The Origins of Enmeshment

Enmeshment often stems from toxic family environments, where love is present but in subtle demanding ways. In these environments, individuals are implicitly asked to abandon their authentic selves in order to maintain the love and approval of their parents or caregivers.

By becoming a replica of their parent, they hope to make their parent feel good and avoid any form of disconnection. Because disconnection is a real threat to a child’s survival, enmeshment is an unconscious coping mechanism developed in childhood to ensure immediate survival. 

The Impact of Enmeshment

Enmeshment creates a deep sense of loneliness, as individuals are never truly loved for who they are, but rather for the identity they have copied. It leads to a suppression of authentic needs, desires, emotions, boundaries, and opinions, as individuals prioritize the needs of others over their own. This pattern persists into adulthood, making it difficult to express individuality and have fulfilling relationships.

When someone uses enmeshment as a relationship style to ensure connection and safety, disconnection can often trigger feelings of guilt, fear, or shame. When triggered, the ‘enmesher’ will often make itself small, suppress its authenticity, and please the other person. But this suppression of authenticity and the constant need to please others, result in a profound sense of emptiness, loneliness, and depression. 

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Healing from Enmeshment

Recognizing and understanding enmeshment is the first step towards healing. It is essential to explore the relationship dynamics with our parents and caregivers and how their expectations shaped our enmeshment patterns. Emotional and somatic healing work can help us access vulnerable emotions and wounds related to disconnection, rejection, and abandonment. By feeling these emotions and soothing ourselves, we can begin to create safety in expressing our individuality and needs within relationships.

Increasing Emotional Tolerance

Increasing our level of emotional tolerance is a crucial aspect of healing from enmeshment. It involves learning to recognize our triggers and to sit with the fear and anxiety that arises when faced with disconnection. Slowly over time, we can start expressing our authentic selves and setting boundaries in a safe and supportive environment. This process requires practice, but it allows us to create new relationship mechanisms that honor our authenticity.


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Enmeshment is a relationship style that can hinder our ability to express our true selves and have fulfilling relationships. By recognizing and understanding enmeshment, we can embark on a healing journey that involves emotional and somatic healing work, increasing our emotional tolerance, and learning to express our authentic selves in relationships. It is through this process that we can create new patterns and connection mechanisms that lead to genuine love, fulfillment, and personal growth.  


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