Our belief systems change. When we get too close to someone and enmesh with them, sometimes the things we 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.
Our interests will change. Again, meeting new people means we'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.
Our style will change - If our style of clothing, hair style, music preference, etc..., changes, then we might be in an enmeshed relationship. There was a reason we liked OUR style to begin with, right?
Our feelings change when their feelings change. If we're having a pretty good day, but our partner comes home and they're having a bad day & our mood changes - we'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 our time is spent together. When we stop hanging out with our friends or family members and all our time is dedicated to our partner, we'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 and/or we feel suffocated. If we feel restricted in being able to run errands on our own, have private time to ourselves or find it hard to have private phone conversations with others, then we're in an enmeshed relationship.
Now that we'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 McCord 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.