Can you be OK if someone you love is not OK? Do you find yourself feeling guilty being happy if people around you are struggling? If your husband is upset with you but you know you were not in the wrong or even if you were and it doesn’t legitimize his reaction, does it ruin your day? If your kids have lost their mind, are struggling in school, or just not thriving like you want them to, is it all you think about? If someone hurts your feelings, do you rehearse the scenario repeatedly in your mind? Is your boss impossible to please? Is your job where you get your identity and worth from?
If you answered yes to any of these, you are enmeshed in that relationship or in that job. Of course, it’s normal to be upset about things when there are problems but letting them completely knock you off your rocker or 100% consume you means you’re enmeshed and you don’t have to be.
Before we go any further, how do you think I know this? LOL
It’s because I’ve been enmeshed and I know how it feels. I know how hard it is to get untangled. It reminds me of when I put several necklaces in a bag to go on a trip. By the time I get there I can hardly get the necklaces untangled and by the time we realize just how enmeshed we have become with someone, it’s hard to differentiate.
So often, this is what happens in marriages and it’s why many times after 20 years too many of them sadly end in divorce. One or both partners are so exhausted from being enmeshed that they choose to detach rather than differentiate. Before I knew about becoming differentiated… I would say to my husband, Kevin, we will not get a divorce but we will not go on living this way. Something has got to give. Thankfully we were able to find out what I’m sharing with you and it changed everything! We started noticing behaviors, comments, and decisions that were all out of enmeshment. Sometimes it was me and sometimes it was him. But we would catch ourselves or each other and say, “No, you can be however you want to be but I’m not going there with you. I’m differentiating in this matter.” This is more than just boundaries. And it’s different from codependency. It’s a must if you want to be OK when those you love are not.
If you would like to know more about this when it comes to your kids or parents, or adult children, extended family, friends, or your job, check back the next couple weeks and we will continue this conversation.
We will talk in more detail about how to become differentiated without becoming completely detached. But also, I get it, you’re exhausted and you just can’t keep going like this. Great news is you don’t have to! I truly believe this is a secret that so many do not know and could be the answer to lots of relational problems. I look forward to continuing this conversation over the next few weeks!
Happy Monday, ya’ll!
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