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Fri Aug 16, 2013, 12:47 AM

I have an enmeshed personality with my father.

Last edited Fri Aug 30, 2013, 09:38 PM - Edit history (2)

A therapist diagnosed this years ago when my father went to get some emotional help. Now my own psychiatrist largely agrees with it. We are too close. We emotionally depend on each other. Our personalities even depend on each other and it's hard to separate the two of us. I find it hard to have my own likes and dislikes. I get upset when he dislikes something I like etc... When I'm upset he is and visa versa. We are also much more like best friends than father and son. We talk about literature and science and even women the way friends would. I used to call my parents mommy and daddy till a few weeks ago.

Because of this enmeshment I've found it very difficult to build my own personality. To have my own interests to be assertive.

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Reply I have an enmeshed personality with my father. (Original post)
Locut0s Aug 2013 OP
olddots Aug 2013 #1
Locut0s Aug 2013 #2
olddots Aug 2013 #3
Locut0s Aug 2013 #7
Tobin S. Aug 2013 #4
Locut0s Aug 2013 #6
Locut0s Aug 2013 #5
Tobin S. Aug 2013 #8
olddots Aug 2013 #9
Locut0s Aug 2013 #11
No Vested Interest Aug 2013 #10
Locut0s Aug 2013 #12
No Vested Interest Aug 2013 #13
mopinko Aug 2013 #14
Locut0s Aug 2013 #15
mopinko Aug 2013 #16
Locut0s Sep 2013 #19
Maraya1969 Sep 2013 #17
Locut0s Sep 2013 #18

Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 02:16 AM

1. isn't that common to certain extents ?

 

I seemed to be more in tune with my mother than with my father .
I think you have plenty of personality but maybe a stronger bond with your father which in turn puts your mother at odds with the dynamic . Don't listen to my crap I barely finished high school but be thankful for your relationship with your parents -I talk more to my parents since they have been dead than I spoke to them when they were alive .

Have you ever gone to therapy with your parents ?

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Response to olddots (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 03:03 AM

2. I think you mean just being close to your parents...

That is common. But in my case there's a somewhat subtle but important difference. I've failed to develop certain parts of my personality fully because I've relied on my parents as a form of crutch. Like I said I have difficulty with things like knowing what my own interests and likes are. I find myself coming to agreement with my father on far too much because we in some ways share aspects of our personalities. Do I like a film after I've seen it with my father? Well I could give you an answer but truthfully I don't fully form my opinion until I've talked it over with him and see what we both think of it. I don't seem to quite have an opinion on it 100% until the 2 of us have come to an agreement. I'm exaggerating a bit and I don't have these issues with things that I do and see on my own, but then I've done so little on my own.

No I haven't gone to therapy with my parents. That's actually something I'd be very interested in doing but have no idea how I would bring that about. The psychiatrist I go to now probably wouldn't be interested in doing that, though I suppose I could ask.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 04:03 AM

3. if you do therapy with your parents make sure the therapist has good record with family therapy

 

it can get really out of hand because in my experience sides get taken and if the therapy isn't played out ( someone doesn't want to get thru it and quits ) things can get screwed up.

I'm sure you have gone thru your options of how to get away and they seem like they don't exist..
It will be real good when it happens and it will happen. Our circumstantial depressions are a paradox
but there is hope . Maybe you and your dad could see your therapist and talk about boundaries with out your mom .....you could ask your shrink ,boundaries suck but sometimes they have to be there . My mother had no boundaries with me and that will last a lifetime so maybe it's time to set some up with your dad even though it may be very difficult and weirdly uncomfortable it may be worth a shot because who the hell can afford to strike it out now alone without a gazillion dollars ?

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Response to olddots (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 05:10 AM

7. Thanks dots...

Next time I see my psychiatrist I'm going to make a point of asking if he knows about family therapists and what he could suggest. Yes I need some boundaries for my own sanity I think. My family is very loving on the surface but I think it's kind of loving in a suffocating way. I can't reach fresh oxygen because my loving family is suffocating me in some ways

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 05:26 AM

4. olddots mentioned boundaries

I had the same problem with my parents. I think you've made an important realization regarding this. When you've only known one way of dealing with your folks from birth, it's hard to step outside of that relationship and see what's really going on. When I realized what was happening I felt violated and I couldn't be around my parents for a while. But there was a past dynamic of abuse there as well, and it doesn't appear that you have that.

After I realized what was going on I basically divorced my parents. Good things started happening to me shortly after that. I met my wife, became engaged, and moved fifty miles away. I still have a hard time tolerating being around them for more than a few hours at a time, but that's long enough to get through the holidays and the summertime get-togethers.

I'm not saying you have to go the route I did. However, if you are looking to set up some boundaries between you and your father, it's going to be difficult to do while you are living with him. At least more so than it would be if you were out on your own. It might be a good idea to explore that aspect of your relationship with your therapist.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 05:08 AM

6. Thanks Tobin...

Yes I've started to add a few boundaries. I'm trying to call both my parents MOM and DAD strictly now, instead of daddy etc.. Feels odd at first which I feel pathetic saying at 31 but it's the truth. I'm also trying to build more me time and trying to do less with my father. I used to do everything with my parents, I mean I literally had no social life what so ever so we would eat dinners out together, go to movies together, you name it we did it as a family. That may sound healthy but it's really the exact opposite when you do it to the exclusion of having your own personality. I think the meetups I'm going to by myself now are starting to help me form some of my own time to myself. Maybe part of the reason I had the little mini blow out I did that I posted about, see the camping trip thread here, was because I found it EVEN harder to work with my parents now that I HAVE separated myself a bit from them. Old habit that used to tick you off mildly may become MAJOR bothers when you start to realize you have an alternative lol.

I'm sorry to hear you had a history of abuse with your parents. Indeed I don't have that with mine, but I still think the environment I'm in is toxic. It's a loving close family on the surface and they mean nothing but the best for me but it's still unhealthy I think.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 05:01 AM

5. Another explanation...

I was talking to TexasTowlie and explaining this enmeshment issue and I think my explantion there was better:

"
My parents are in some ways a similar anchor for me. I've been diagnosed with an enmeshed relationship with them, which basically means we depend on each other emotionally so much that we can't separate ourselves from each other. My own personality and interests are underdeveloped and tied into theirs far too closely. This creates emotional dependencies between myself, my father and my mother. We can't be our own selves without hurting the other. And we often feel neglected or hurt by the others for the wrong reasons. I feel guilty for having and wanting my own differing beliefs and interests and yet because they are underdeveloped I don't even know what these interests are sometimes. This guilt then leads to resentment and self hatred. It's a toxic environment. It's not immediately obvious that it's toxic because in some ways we couldn't be closer as a family, but the flip side is that that is also the problem. I need to separate myself from them and work on myself, but it's difficult.

Not sure anyone can understand this.
"

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #5)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 07:53 AM

8. I understand that perfectly

Hopefully, you'll be able to create some space between you and them.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 06:24 PM

9. you and your parents need some seperation

 

You sound like you really really need to strike out on your own one small amount at a time , your parents will get a " life " and so will you.

You have been kind of your parents parent lately because you have matured while people their age stew in their stuff ( I know this because I am their age ) It doesn't sound too toxic yet but it doesn't sound too healthy , with a good family therapist ( a good one ) the goal of you leaving your parent's home can be pieced together ,it's scary but better than living where the vibes get worse and worse .

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Response to olddots (Reply #9)

Fri Aug 23, 2013, 05:34 PM

11. Thanks dots!...

Yes I do need separation from my parents. I'm JUST back from my 5 day camping trip and I have to say I haven't felt this relaxed in a long time. This has been a good learning / growing experience for me. I have some big challenges coming up with school just around the corner but I think it was important I did this.

I'll post about the trip, with pics in a bit.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 06:51 PM

10. Kahlil Gibran's "On Children"

Last edited Mon Aug 19, 2013, 02:15 AM - Edit history (1)

Perhaps you're familiar with this; if not, study this; if so, reread in light of this discussion.

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

.............

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.

.........................

Let this poem resonate in your being.
At some point you may wish to share and discuss its meaning with your parents, in a non-confrontational way.
You could share with them what Gibran's words mean to you, and eventually, what the words mean to your parents.

Peace.

Edit:spelling

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Response to No Vested Interest (Reply #10)

Fri Aug 23, 2013, 05:37 PM

12. Thank you NVI...

Not only is that a beautiful poem, I googles the full poem, it's so apt for my situation!! Thanks you! I may share this with my parents soon in fact. I am very open with them about the need to separate and get out from under them. They are aware of the need thankfully, but it's still difficult even with such self awareness.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #12)

Fri Aug 23, 2013, 05:59 PM

13. Glad to know your trip went well.

Will look forward to hearing about it.
Have a good weekend!

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 09:28 PM

14. my advice is do not use your own therapist.

your own therapist really will not be free. they will be constrained by promises of privacy, and influenced by their opinion of you.
get a family therapist, and keep your own resources to yourself. you will not be sorry.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #14)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 09:37 PM

15. Sorry I'm not clear on the difference...

Are you suggesting I go to therapy WITH my family? Or do therapy with my family? I've had others suggest this. Or are you saying I do to therapy by myself but switch to a family therapist. I'm afraid I don't know the difference.

Right now I'm not seeing a therapist actually, I'm seeing a psychiatrist.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #15)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 10:08 PM

16. if you do therapy with your family, use a different therapist.

preferably a good family therapist.
pdoc, tdoc, whichever, you need your own, and to keep them your own.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #16)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 04:13 PM

19. Ahh I see, yes thanks that's a good idea.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #15)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 03:59 PM

17. I identify with your post somewhat but I used to be very resentful of both my parents for being so

enmeshed. I remember one time. My father owned an apartment building that I moved into. They, Mom and Dad, were so controlling that they would call me on the phone and practicallly just tell me that we were going out to eat and show up and I just went as if i didn't have a say in the matter. That is just one example, there are hundreds more. I also think you enjoy your time with your parents when I felt uncomfortable and angry a lot.

Anyway, there was some problem at the apartments and, even though I was considered the manager, my mother and father were "over" me so to speak. I refused to do something he said to do. It became sort of a stand off and I remember him writing me a letter and driving it over and putting it on my door. All I remember of it were the words, "We have come to an impasse". But whatever he wanted me to do I stood my ground and did not give up as I always had in the past. IOW - do it their way because they are the parents and even though you are an adult they still control you sort of thing.

And I got fired! From my cuushy job as the manager of my parent's apartment building. I then even moved out, (but I didn't rent my own apartment) for awhile.

So I know what you are feeling when trying to break away and grow up and be your own person. My dad died when I was around 30 so that relationship was taken care of but my Mom had so much control over me also. It finally got so I figured our, (for me - not saying this is your case) that I was afraid of my mother and that is why I would clam up and not talk to her and she could control me the way she did. I hate to say that it took me until my 40's to get to be able to feel safe and relaxed talking to my mother but it took that long.

Now she is a good friend. She is in her 80's now and I can't stand the thought of losing her. But I know that day will happen at some point and I know I will be OK.

And you will be OK too. Live is not a race. We do it at our own pace. And there is nothing wrong with you as a person. Sure there may be things you want to change for your own benefit and that is great. But the essence of you is good. Always remember that.

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Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #17)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 04:13 PM

18. Thank you very much for the kind post Maraya!!...

It means a lot. Yes I do have a largely happy relationship with my parents it seems. But I too have frustrations and anger issues that arise due to the enmeshment. In my case I let myself BE controlled much more than they want to do the controlling. My mother or father will offer all kinds of suggestions on how something should or shouldn't be done, or they will bring up a list of worries and dangers in something I am doing. And instead of standing up for myself and saying NO, I'm doing this my way because that's what I want, that's what I need, instead I just cave to their whims, and yes it angers me. But otherwise like you said our relationship is luckily quite loving and I often enjoy the time. In some ways though this makes it even harder to break the ties, if it was purely a toxic relationship it might offer more of an incentive.

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