Parenting the enmeshed child: a thankless task?

Some enmeshed systems cannot be helped because the problem is pathological and the child’s right to an independent self is suffocated. Those systems need more robust intervention because the suffocation is abusive. Some systems can be helped and all enmeshed children need the intervention of the other parent at some stage if they are to live a life outside of the system.

Karen Woodall

This post is a follow up to last week’s post on the use of stereotypes to alienate parents. This week I am looking at the issue of enmeshment, a peculiar feature of many alienated family systems and one which is almost exclusively seen where fathers are the rejected parent.

Enmeshment is something we work with a lot at the Family Separation Clinic, it is one of the most common features seen in alienation cases where a child has entered into withdrawal because of a too strong emotional entanglement with a parent who suffers over identification with their children.  Whilst this sounds breezy, the treatment of the enmeshed child is one of the most complex and frustrating tasks that we undertake in our work with alienated children and I thought it might be worth taking a closer look at this phenomenon, because it can be present before separation as well as…

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