Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Enmeshed Parenting, Two

What is enmeshment? There are several definitions available on the internet. For example: family members become overinvolved in each other’s life, which precludes healthy functioning and compromises the development of individual autonomy and self-reliance; boundaries are blurred and a child may become trapped in the parent’s need to be seen as the rescuer, which results in the child failing to develop skills of self-direction and problem-solving. In this women’s experience, counselors have made some educated guesses about what her husband gets from the parent-child enmeshment. Daddy feels flattered and special because his daughter puts him on a pedestal and treats him feel like the most important person in the world. His needs are getting met this way—but teaching her to stand on her own two feet, problem solve effectively (even if she sometimes runs her proposed solution by him), and grow up into a mature woman with high levels of emotional intelligence is rarely achieved. This type of parenting is handicapping, not affirming. Yes, she is learning that she cannot live without her father. All things being equal, he will die before she does and she will have neither the skills to deal effectively with his death nor the skills to function as a balanced adult. And if he begins to express his desire for his daughter to mature and develop problem solving skills, she will try all the harder to keep all his attention directed toward her. More tomorrow.

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