5 thoughts on “The Enmeshed Family System: What It Is and How to Break Free

  • May 3, 2019 at 11:53 am

    What a valuable article. Thank you. Even with LOTS of therapy and self help these issues still come up for me. It takes awareness and daily work to deal with enmeshment. It is worth the work when I make a decision to put myself first 😉

  • May 3, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks Sharon. This is a great article. I wish there were more on this subject. You could be describing my family to a T. and it has caused many problems over the decades. No boundaries, high expectations, guilt and shame for not obeying the “rules” of the family, the list goes on. I now have low contact with some and no contact with others. My healing is for me. I know if I sent them this article they would just scapegoat me even further; they are just not open to any sort of feedback whatsoever. This is the sad reality of the enmeshed family.

    • February 5, 2020 at 8:21 am

      Me too

  • May 5, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Good post – I find myself as the mom being the one enmeshed with my eldest child (out of seven). I’m finally aware of it after 15 years. Working on being my own person and hoping in time she will see me as one. Ugh, that probably is not terribly healthy thinking, huh? Any thoughts for an upside down enmeshed family?

  • June 11, 2019 at 5:26 am

    The emotional incest between my stepfather and oldest sister was disgusting. He is borderline, was high on OxyContin, and talked like he was raised in a brothel. I was his friend/servant. My mother did nothing to protect my sisters, the older one being spoiled/controlled and the younger one being scapegoated and chased out of the house at 17. Unable to survive on her own, they pushed her to go in the Army, which sent her to Iraq 4 times, and yet years later my mother had the audacity to say her daughter “wasn’t a very ambitious person”. I also lacked the wherewithal to take care of myself at 18, and they bullied me and guilt tripped me into joining the military too, even though neither one of them had ever served. The Air Force was a better family than the one I came from, which I did not realize at the time, because it was give AND take, not ALL take. I met a lot of people from similarly dysfunctional families, although I didn’t realize it at the time. My sister and I both left our military careers and friends to return to our enmeshed, dysfunctional family. I nearly lost my marriage trying to play along and get along with all the denial and duplicity before I broke free again. I would counsel anyone who got away once, your friends are your friends, not your family, and geography is possibly the best friend you will ever have.


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