Have you ever imagined mixing your views with someone? It might happen often. Have you ever seen yourself experiencing the emotions as your partner or loved one is experiencing? That happens too!
When you completely diffuse your existence, merge your own self-control with your partner’s, the limitless idealization that ends up becoming the identity of each other is what we believe as surviving in an enmeshment relationship.
Defining the term “enmeshment”
In 1978, Salvador Minuchin presented the concept of enmeshment in the context of different family systems. This shows excessive and highly intimate interactions within members of a family. It revolves around the changes among members of a family occurring due to the habit of extra involvement into the matters of each other.
The use of enmeshment is suitable only in interpersonal settings of relationships. It is not a good term to describe an individual in a relationship, but the couple, because the sense of ‘self’ is less prominent among each member, and the boundaries that tell us about each member’s lifestyle is not outlined as separate, it is ‘Fusion.’
Function of the concept
The concept mainly show’s dependence on one another. Co–dependence, if two people allow them to create one identity with similar values, equal worth, well-being, safety, and by considering these phrases, people use on a daily basis as a enmeshed relationship.
“I’d die without you,” “You’re my everything,” “Without you, I’m nothing,” “I need you,” or “You make me whole.”
For example, the purpose of a caretaker is to feel successful by attaining independence and vice versa, but still some powerful and prestigious people oppose this concept of completeness as being together in a relationship. This concept has its own benefits for those who are in any kind of relationship.
The indicators of an enmeshed relationship are as follows:
- The presence of constant thoughts in your mind that force you to neglect all relationships other than the enmeshed relationship.
- The relationship’s health predicts the satisfaction and happiness of you as a partner.
- The relationship has the power to control your ego, which is an important balancing system to maintain the internal and external impulses of human beings.
- How you evaluate yourself, value yourself and see yourself as a person is determined solely by that relationship.
- A feeling of extreme restlessness appears within partners as an outcome of fear or disturbed sensations to solve the issue after an argument.
- Upon leaving each other’s company you might feel high levels of sadness and stress. The mind will push you to meet again with the partner.
- Based on the process of symbiosis, the codependency, healing and giving, benefiting and absorbing from each other explains the relationship very well, quite similar to a scientific formula.
- The feelings of one partner affects the feelings of the other automatically and the same is with the case with their behaviors.
(Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, a national seminar trainer and psychotherapist who specializes in relationships)
Lesbians and enmeshment
Being in a lesbian relationship gets help through the use of enmeshment due to its ability to grow a stronger bond, not only physically as we experience in holding hands, kissing and sleeping together, or by meeting and greeting each other with hugs, but also by emotional adequacy and a sense of exchanging what one is thinking, feeling and sensing.
The hold is permanent, the grasp is undeniable, and it works on the principle of addictive and poor impulse control behaviors. With the passage of time, lesbians feel more secure, happy and empathy develops to the extent that no one can change their decisions other than their partner. They get used to the dependency and relying on the affects of one another so much that they become unable to break the chain of the relationship.
Application of enmeshment to lesbian relationship
<b>The following points clearly state what to do in a lesbian relationship of an enmeshment nature.</b>
- Physical interaction will be considered as a result of thoughts, emotions, sensations and feelings the partners share with each other.
- The identity of both of the partners is the same, you cannot say one is hypersensitive and the other is of a calm personality at the same time and in a same situation.
- They are unable to do any task alone without the need of the other partner.
- Moving out of the relationship will be a totally wasteful idea to think about once the commitment is done.
- Each partner will enjoy the same liberties.
- The needs and conflicts of both partners are alike.
- They stay alive on same ground, same conditions and same perception.
- They share the same philosophy of life.
- They both are inseparable and are like one soul.
- The fluid passage of ideas and other characteristics from one another is compulsory.
The concept is of great relevance and importance in the field of psychology and is practiced as therapy for family, groups, couples and many others who come under it. Seeking help when required is the best road to travel on in order to reach a mutual destination.
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Green, R. J., & Mitchell, V. Gay and lesbian couples in therapy: Homophobia, relational ambiguity, and social support. In Alan S. Gurman and Neil S. Jacobson (eds), Clinical Handbook of Couple Therapy (3rd Edition) 2002. New York: Guildford Press.
LaSala, M. C. (2000). Lesbians, Gay Men, and Their Parents: Family Therapy for the Coming-Out Crisis. Family Process, 39 (1) 67-81.
Murphy, J.A., Rawlings, E. I., & Howe, S. R. (2002). A survey of clinical psychologists on treating lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33(2), 183-189.
Riggle, E. D. B, & Rostosky, S. S. (2005). For better or for worse: Psycholegal soft spots and advance planning for same-sex couples. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36(1), 90-96.
Rostosky, S. S., Korfhage, B. A., Duhigg, J. M., Stern, A. J., Bennet, L., & Riggle, E. D. B. (2004). Same-sex couple perceptions of family support: A consensual qualitative survey. Family Process, 43(1), 43-57.
Tartakovsky, M. (2013). Tips on Setting Boundaries in Enmeshed Relationships. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 20, 2013, fromhttp://psychcentral.com/lib/tips-on-setting-boundaries-in-enmeshed-relationships/00017840