Dr. Pat Love wrote a book about this phenomenon called The Emotional Incest Syndrome: What To Do When A Parent’s Love Rules Your Life. She describes the cost to the child, “If the parent represses the girl’s (or boy’s) anger not just once but over and over again, a deeper injury occurs: the girl will eventually dismantle her anger response. Ultimately, […]
A serious illness, natural disaster, or sudden loss may cause a family to become unusually close in an attempt to protect themselves. When this pattern persists well beyond the initial trauma, enmeshment loses its protective value and can undermine each family member’s personal autonomy.
Overinvolvement of parents with their children can create serious difficulties for all family members. The most extreme example of such overinvolvement is termed enmeshment; this is a situation in which the ego boundaries among individuals are so poorly defined that they cannot separate or individuate from one another without experiencing tremendous anxiety, anger, or other forms […]
Stahl (1999) reports that the children who are most susceptible to alienation are the more passive and dependent children, or the children who feel a strong need to psychologically care for the alienating parent. The child and alienating parent share a sense of moral outrage and there is a fusion of feelings between them. While noting […]
1. Taking a Child on “Dates” Adams told The Mighty he’s had patients describe going on “dates” with their parent to see age-inappropriate movies or go to romantic dinners. Though it’s completely natural for a child to see a movie or go to dinner with a parent from time to time, these scenarios can cross […]
Enmeshment is a concept introduced by Salvador Minuchin to describe families where personal boundaries are diffuse, sub-systems undifferentiated, and over-concern for others leads to a loss of autonomous development. Enmeshed in parental needs, trapped in a discrepant role function, a child may lose his or her capacity for self-direction; his/her own distinctiveness, under the weight […]