08 Oct Are You an Enmeshed Parent? – 4 Ways to Tell

If you’re a parent, the relationship you have with your child is likely the closest of all your relationships. However, there is a line between a close relationship and an unhealthily close relationship.

Enmeshed parenting is when a parent/child relationship is seen as more important than the individual themselves. In other words, you define yourself more by your relationship with your child than as an autonomous person.

Enmeshed relationships are very similar to co-dependent relationships. If you’re an enmeshed parent, it can be hard to identify.

Here are four ways to tell if you may be an enmeshed parent, and how to combat it.

1. You Depend on Your Child for Your Emotional Needs

If you find that your emotional well-being depends on your relationship with your child, this is a sign of enmeshed parenting.

You may find yourself happiest when you are with your child and upset when you aren’t. And you may constantly worried about them when they aren’t around.

If you only feel 100% happy and emotionally stable when your child is around, this is a sign that you are placing way too much of your emotional status on your child.

2. You Feel Anxious When You and Your Child Fight

This one goes along with the emotional well-being sign. It is normal to fight and have disagreements with your child from time to time, typically these disagreements work out after each party has time to cool off and reflect on their thoughts.

In an enmeshed relationship, you may not be using that time to cool off or reflect. Instead, you’re riddled with anxiety about the fight. You may find yourself desperate to immediately make amends and have things go back to normal.

Simply apologizing just to end the conflict but not really considering why the conflict happened initially will not solve anything. In the long run, you’ll just keep having the same fight and the same anxieties over and over again.

3. You Ignore or Neglect Other Relationships

Because you are so absorbed in your relationship with your child, you don’t really have time for other ones. So, you neglect them. This is a huge red flag.

It is important to not only have a healthy amount of relationships in your life, but to not place all your energy in just a single one. The relationship you have with your child can absolutely be your most important one. But odds are, if you’re ignoring your spouse, friends, and other family members, you’ll end up feeling more isolated than anything else.

4. You Feel Anxious or Nervous When Your Child Is Not Around

If your child is not directly with you or out of contact, this may lead you to feel extremely anxious. If you feel this way anytime you can’t speak with your child, it is a sign of enmeshment.

It is crucial to understand that until you are comfortable being alone and content with your relationship with yourself, you will never have healthy relationships with others. You need to recognize your own independence and autonomy. And you need to recognize your child’s independence and autonomy.

If you are anxious simply because they are away from you for a couple of hours, this is a serious issue.

Seeking Help

After reading through this list, you may feel like some of the signs apply to your relationship with your child. You shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed. You should, however, seek help.

Speaking with a therapist will help you work through the psychological issues regarding your enmeshed parenting. It will be difficult to overcome your anxiety and unlearn all of the norms you’ve established with your child. However, for their sake and yours, it is crucial that you set boundaries and seek professional help. This way, you and your child can begin the journey to living healthier, more independent lives.

If you would like to know how I could help you find balance in your relationship with your child, please contact me today on (07) 3282 5453