Why Enmeshment is Unhealthy - Part 5

By now, you are aware of what "enmeshment" is and how to know if you are in an enmeshed relationship (see earlier blog posts this week). What are the dangers of being in an enmeshed relationship?

Loss of self.  When you are in an enmeshed relationship, you lose your identity.  You ultimately lose the parts of your "self" that made the other person fall in love with you to begin with!  (Unless you never let them see your true "self"!).  It ultimately will feel like you are living your life how you want to, which causes unhappiness and a lack of fulfillment.

Over time, this loss of self can create resentment towards the other person, as well as depression.  You may end up feeling like the other person is controlling you (even though you are the one who is allowing it to happen).

You might also feel as though you don't know who you are-- your identity is so wrapped up in another person, you might not know whether you could exist apart from them.  This can create a host of other issues if something would happen to your significant other.  Some people who lose their spouse through death, struggle for quite some time in not only coming to terms with the loss, but not knowing how to function apart from the other person.

A loss of your voice.  In enmeshed relationships, much like codependency, one person is more likely to give up their "voice".  They might stop saying no when they need to, or begin to go along with what the other person wants, for fear of allowing the other person to see their differences.  Differences and a separate sense of self are all healthy in relationships, to a certain degree.  Not allowing yourself to have a voice in the relationship can create a very unbalanced relationship where the power is all with another person (you don't have a healthy amount of personal power and freedom).

Do any of this week's blog posts sound like you?  If so, we encourage you to begin working on breaking free from enmeshment to a healthier you!

Joleen Watson, MS, LMFT, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.