Alright! So who’s sick of listening to me complain about my body? Ooh Me! OK, enough of that.
Typical Presentations of the Schema
Typical behaviors include copying the behaviors of the parental figure, talking and thinking about him or her, staying in constant contact with the parent figure, and suppressing all thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are discrepant from the parent figure. When patient do try to separate from the enmeshed person in any way, they feel overcome with guilt.
Goals of Treatment
The central goal of treatment is to help people express their spontaneous, natural selves – their unique preferences, opinions, decisions, talents, and natural inclinations – rather than suppressing their true selves and merely adopting the identity of the parent figures with whom they are enmeshed. People who have been treated successfully for enmeshment issues are no longer focused to an unhealthy degree on a parental figure. They are no longer fused with a parental figure and are aware of how they are similar to the parental figure and how they are different. They set boundaries with the parental figure and have a full sense of their own identity.
For people who have avoided closeness as adults in order to avoid enmeshment, the goal of treatment is for the patient to establish connections with others that are neither too distant nor too enmeshed.
Strategies Emphasized in Treatment
Bleh, let’s just list some of these things:
- Cognitive strategies challenge the persons view that it is preferable to be enmeshed with a parent figure than to have an identity of one’s own. It is important to explore the adveantages and disadvantages of developing a separate self. Patients identify how they are boht similar to and different from the paretnal figure. It is important to identify the similarities: The goal is not for patients to go to the opposity extreme and deny all similarities with the parental figure i.e. overcompensation.
- Behavioral strategies work to identify what a person’s own preferences and natural inclinations are. This is begun by listing experiences a person finds inherently enjoyable. From here they can use that basic feeling or sensation as a marker of enjoyment which will be a guideline to determine other things a person may enjoy. They even list what they do and don’t like about partners and work to act on their own preferences even when those differ from a parental figure.
Special Problems with This Schema
Boundaries. Setting boundaries is important. ß-- This will be a topic for future discussion.
I can’t think straight today. I’m arguing with Friend about Occupy Wall Street and he’s getting under my skin because all his arguments are elitist bullshit or poorly thought out and he’s making me mad and argumentative. ß--- No longer engulfed. Yay me.