Do you avoid conflict and have a hard time setting boundaries? Do you feel like you aren’t sure who you truly are or what’s best for you? Do you notice yourself gravitating towards difficult relationships time and time again, wondering why you can’t seem to break out of a destructive cycle? And do you notice a lot of these feelings trace back to tumultuous connections with your parents, siblings, or other loved ones?
These are some of the results of growing up in an enmeshed family system. While there’s nothing wrong with being close to your family, enmeshment takes familial dependence too far. Healing from enmeshment is important for every adult who grew up in an entangled family system. How do you know whether you come from an enmeshed family and what can you do to work through enmeshment trauma? Read on to learn more.
What Is Enmeshment?
Enmeshment describes the relationship dynamics in certain types of families. This includes families where:
- Boundaries between family members are severely lacking
- Familial roles are abnormal or switched (e.g., children caring for their parents’ needs)
- Parents are overly reliant upon their children (i.e., emotionally, physically, or financially)
- Parents deny their children acceptable levels of privacy
- Children become their parents’ “best friends”
- Children are discouraged from or not allowed to develop independence
- Children are punished for resisting the enmeshed relationship or relationships
Family enmeshment creates significant problems for children as they become adults. Eventually, they have a hard time recognizing their needs, effectively expressing emotions, or identifying manipulative behaviors.
This lack of self-awareness often leads people into difficult or dangerous situations that they struggle to escape from due to limited self-confidence. Healing from enmeshment takes time but helps people avoid creating further problems for themselves later in life.
How To Start Healing from Enmeshment
Unfortunately, behaviors that result from growing up in an enmeshed family can have lasting effects. These behaviors can continue to affect the trajectory of your life until you identify the problem and do the work to overcome them. Adults who grow up in these family systems must start healing from enmeshment to live happy, fulfilling lives. How can you start to heal?
Be Patient with Yourself
Recognize that the work it takes to overcome the effects of an enmeshed family system takes time. You won’t develop the confidence and capabilities overnight, but as time goes by, you will see progress.
Discover Who You Truly Are
If you grew up in an enmeshed family, you likely weren’t encouraged to discover who you are. Healing from enmeshment starts with finding out what you like to do, how you enjoy spending time, who you want to be around, and what you want to do with your life.
Boundaries are an important part of caring for yourself. No one will take care of you better than you. Learning to develop boundaries ensures you keep people from taking advantage of you. Don’t forget to be patient with yourself; developing boundaries takes time.
Therapy is a crucial tool when healing from enmeshment. Working through therapy with a qualified compassionate team, like our team at Pasadena Villa, can help you identify any cognitive distortions that developed from your unhealthy family relationships. Therapy also provides support on your journey of self-discovery and provides you with the guidance you never received when you were young.
If you’re starting the process of healing from enmeshment, seeking help from a program like those at Pasadena Villa is a great place to start. We understand the complexities that come with growing up in an enmeshed family unit and provide a caring, comforting environment to start the healing process. Want to learn more about how we can help? Call us at 407-574-5190 or fill out our contact form today.