October 18, 2023

Enmeshment: Maintaining Control of Your Own Decisions

By Shalayne McMillian
Mental Health & Wellbeing

Have you ever wondered, “Am I too close to her/him”? If you’re an adult or approaching adulthood and frequently find yourself seeking approval or advice from your parents, family, or friends when making decisions, you might be grappling with enmeshment. Enmeshment can also make it challenging to recognize your own emotions, particularly when it comes to personal challenges and achievements, while being deeply attuned to the feelings of those around you.

What is an enmeshed relationship?

It’s a situation where boundaries between individuals become blurred, making it difficult to distinguish who is feeling what, especially when emotions are directed toward others. However, before we delve deeper into this concept, let’s consider an example: a mother might excessively celebrate her son’s achievements while neglecting her own. A spouse might constantly absorb her husband’s emotions, leaving little room to acknowledge her own successes and struggles, along with the emotions that accompany them. Enmeshment is a common experience for many, not a personal fault.

The difficulties that come with being enmeshed

One of the major downsides is the struggle to make decisions that are genuinely in your best interest. While logical decisions can be made, many of the choices that lead to happiness require an understanding of your own emotions. If you’re unable to grasp why you’re feeling a certain way, especially when it’s unrelated to you, it becomes tough to figure out whom to love, what career aligns with your passions, or which friends truly resonate with you.

People caught in enmeshed relationships experience a lack of freedom all over their lives. They might never understand why unless they educate themselves or go to therapy. Every person they encounter becomes a vessel for their own emotions, rather than each person acting as an individual who gets to know another individual and chooses a relationship of some sort. In order to break free from this pattern, you need to understand your own emotions, set boundaries to safeguard your desires, and recognize that you have every right to your emotions, just as others do. This involves allowing others to take responsibility for their own feelings.

Taking control

When enmeshed individuals constantly assume responsibility for others’ decisions, they rarely have the mental space to process their own lives and make sound choices for themselves.  Decisions based solely on the emotions of others can lead to a sense of powerlessness. While it might be comfortable not to own your decisions, it raises crucial questions: Are you truly happy? Are you authentically honoring your wants and needs? Overcoming enmeshment entails untangling its complexities, but it’s a journey worth undertaking. Through this process, you can regain your sense of empowerment and lead a more fulfilling life.

Ready to break free from enmeshment and regain control of your life? Reach out to Optimum Joy Counseling today to start your journey towards healthier relationships and personal empowerment.”

Written By

Shalayne McMillian

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