Enmeshment: Breaking Free From Overbearing Relationships

In this article:

When boundaries are unclear, particularly in families, relationships can become overbearing, with individuals experiencing a diminished sense of self (Bacon & Conway, 2023).
In such situations, our clients can be confused over their separateness, indicating what psychologists call ‘enmeshment’ (Bacon & Conway, 2023).
While ‘enmeshed’ families benefit from high levels of communication, they also suffer from overinvolvement in each other’s issues, problems, and stresses. Family members experience a lack of distance and poor autonomy, impacting their decision-making skills (Coe et al., 2018).
In this article, we introduce the concept of enmeshment, explore its root causes and impact, and learn how to help clients break free from overbearing relationships.
Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Relationships Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients build healthy, life-enriching relationships.

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