May 2014

Bernice responds to “Parent or Spouse” concerning enmeshment and guilt

Dear C,   Thank you for your email, it raises a lot of issues which I will attempt to answer. The four main issues I see are:  Enmeshment, Guilt, Conflict, Anger. However all of the last three are linked specifically to enmeshment so I will look at this first. From your email I think the biggest problem you face is the fact that neither you nor your mother have been able to form an identity separate from each other. This is always more difficult when a ‘family’ consists of only two members. Even in a so called average family of two parents and 2-3 children this can be difficult especially when a parent has not separated emotionally from their own parent or seeks their identity through merging with their child or children. I have written about what I describe as enmeshment between an only child and one or more of [...]

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Parent or Spouse – who comes first?

Bernice: I received this email, which I found very touching and shows the difficult dilemmas an adult only-child faces when they feel divided between a parent and a spouse. I have placed the dilemmas in the text first, and the life story after so people can understand the dilemmas in context. In my next post I will attempt to offer some understanding of the situation and possible ways forward. Dilemmas: My problem is that I don’t know how to split myself…. I need my mom in my life. I need her close to me; I need to see her every day. In fact, I see her every single day and if she is in Colombia we talk twice a day and if we don’t I feel guilty. I don’t know how to divide myself. I want to spend time with my mom, and if possible with my husband too (which if [...]

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