- Your belief systems change - When you get too close to someone and enmesh with them, sometimes the things you believe in (religion, politics, moral issues, concepts) can start to change. This may or may not be a good thing. Meeting new people can open our minds up to thinking in new ways and exploring things we've never realized before. However, if we're changing because we want acceptance, or because we think it's what we SHOULD do because we're in a relationship with that person, then danger will result.
- Your interests will change - Again, meeting new people means you'll be exposed to new things. We all need to try new things and sometimes we'll enjoy them. Here is a good rule of thumb: If the relationship were to end, would you still do these new interests? If no, then you probably are not genuinely interested to begin with. If yes, then keep on going.
- Your style will change - If your style of clothing, hair style, music preference, etc..., changes, then you might be in an Enmeshed relationship. There was a reason you liked YOUR style to begin with, right?
- Your feelings change when their feelings change - If you're having a pretty good day, but your partner comes home and they're having a bad day & your mood changes - you're Enmeshed. We're in charge of our own feelings, not someone else. Sure, we can feel empathetic, but this does not have to CHANGE our mood altogether.
- All your time is spent together - When you stop hanging out with your friends or family members and all your time is dedicated to your partner, you're Enmeshed. Yes, we encourage intimacy and closeness, but a complete shut-out of outside support systems is not healthy. We need outside support systems to help us get through rough times just as much as we need our significant others.
- There is a lack of privacy or you feel suffocated - If you feel restricted in being able to run errands on your own, have private time to yourself or find it hard to have private phone conversations with others without your partner asking for all the details, then you're in an Enmeshed relationship.
Now that you're aware of what an Enmeshed relationship looks like, check back in tomorrow as we discuss how to grow from an Enmeshed relationship to a much healthier Interdependent relationship.
Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC, LCAC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.