Enmeshment is a dysfunctional state where a two or more people have porous and indistinguishable boundaries. Enmeshment can occur between a parent or child, whole families, or adult couples. This article will be talking about enmeshment between a narcissistic mother and her son. The narcissistic parent could become enmeshed with her daughter or all her offspring, though. The same goes for a narcissistic father.
Since the boundaries between two enmeshed people are permeable, they tend to catch each others emotions. If the narcissistic parent becomes angry at a store clerk who slighted her by waiting on another customer first, her son will grow angry as well.
Emotions are a complicated thing for those in an enmeshed relationships. Unable to tell the difference between each others emotions, each member in the relationship will have times when they feel they need to be rescued from their emotions by the other person. Similarly, they’ll each have time when they feel they have to rescue the other person from their emotions.
Those in an enmeshed relationship come to depend the other enmeshed person for their identity. They become so lost that they lose, or fail to develop, their sense of self.
An enmeshed person depends on the person their enmeshed with for their self-worth. Since narcissists emotionally abuse their children, their enmeshed offspring often have low self-esteem.
A. A pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
Suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her.
Is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates.
Is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her.
Reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events.
Persistently bears grudges (i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights).
Perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack.
Has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner. B. Does not occur exclusively during the course of schizophrenia, a bipolar disorder or a depressive disorder with psychotic features, or another psychotic disorder and is not attributable to the physiological effects of another medical condition.
The Abandonment Depression is the complex painful childhood experience that is reconstituted in an emotional flashback. It is a return to the sense of overwhelm, hopelessness and helplessness that afflicts the abused and /or emotionally abandoned child. At the core of the abandonment depression is the abandonment melange – the terrible emotional mix of fear and shame that coalesces around the deathlike feelings of depression that afflict an abandoned child. Surrounding the abandonment melange of the flashback are perfectionistic and endangerment cognitions and visualizations of the toxic inner and outer critic (See my articles on the critic), and at the surface is the self-destructive enactments of the fight, flight, freeze or fawn responses (See “A Trauma Typology”).