Everyone wants a caring, loving family, right? But is it possible for close to become too close?
“Enmeshment” is a term that’s been gaining more traction recently, and it describes family systems that are intertwined in unhealthy ways. These families appear very loving from the outside, but that love is often based on guilt and obligation…and usually the family doesn’t even know this about themselves!
My brilliant guest today, Dr. Ken Adams, is pulling back the veil on enmeshment and helping us understand what it is and when and how it forms. One of the leading researchers and teachers on this topic, Dr. Adams helps us understand when closeness crosses a line, how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy family structures and how to break free and develop secure attachments to your partner, friends or other relationships you’ve created.
Listen to discover:
- What enmeshment means
- How it forms in childhood
- The effects enmeshment has on a spouse or partner
- How to change the family system
- Why getting free is something you have to do for yourself
Often, enmeshment is rooted in a lonely parent who substitutes their child for their partner. This leads to adult children who feel a sense of obligation to the parent’s well-being, even at the expense of their own needs or the life they’ve created.
The good news is that this doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario. It’s possible to love your family without feeling tangled up with them, and you CAN redefine the relationship and become free to be who you’re meant to be — including a great son or daughter.
“The love contract is defined by obligatory guilt and loyalty, not about freedom to love.” – Dr. Ken Adams
“The empathetic, sensitive soul in the family gets globbed onto by the lonely parent.” – Dr. Ken Adams
“Enmeshment has a direct impact on romantic availability.” – Dr. Ken Adams
“Emancipation is not a negotiation.” – Dr. Ken Adams
“The idea of cracking [the false self] open and becoming the true self is terrifying because we don’t know who we are without that mask.” – Michelle Chalfant
“It feels like your spouse is having an affair, but it’s with their mother or their father.” – Michelle
LINKS & RESOURCES:
Dr. Ken Adams Website
Dr. Ken Adams YouTube
“When He’s Married to Mom” (Dr. Ken Adams book)
“Silently Seduced” (Dr. Ken Adams book)
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