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Enmeshed Relationship: 10 Signs You Could Be In One

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Do you feel guilty or excessively responsible for your parents? And, does this over-concern meddle with your ability to tap into opportunities either professionally or romantically now that you are an adult? Well, an adolescent or young adult who is uneasy about leaving home, or feels less supported upon return is probably growing in an enmeshed family. The same applies to spouses, friends, or colleagues in an enmeshed relationship. If you find yourself in such a relationship, the first step to freeing yourself from this reliance is by understanding how it started and pinpointing its tell-tale signs.

What Is Enmeshment?

Enmeshment is a term used in family therapy circles to define relationships with unclear or intertwined boundaries. It is a disruptive interplay whereby a family member sees the blurriness as a sign of remaining loyal, loving or feeling safe. Simply put, you are a highly empathic person with low boundaries.

The Causes

Now, two people may become enmeshed following events that force one of them to be over-protective of the other. For example, parents with children recovering from a sudden illness, an accident, or a traumatic experience. They see it necessary to take charge of every aspect of the child’s life.

This intervention is welcome at that time because it promotes healing. However, the parents often get stuck and continue interacting with the children that way into their adult life. Consequently, the young adult becomes trapped, guilty to express any views that will contradict the parent.

The Implications

An enmeshed relationship may disrupt your spiritual, emotional, and mental growth. This may lead to complications like eating disorders, lack of autonomy and individuality, or becoming an easy target for narcissistic partners

10 Signs You Could Be in an Enmeshed Relationship

what is enmeshed relationship image

You can tell you are in an enmeshed relationship if you or your loved one depicts any of the following signs: –

#1: Your Lack Your Own Identity

A person in an enmeshment relationship has their identity and worth dependent on fixing others. You hear phrases such as: –

  • You need to see things my way for us to be okay
  • I need to fix you for me to be okay
  • The other person has to be okay for me to be okay
  • I need to rescue you from your emotions
  • Someone else needs to rescue me from my emotions
  • I cannot tell the difference between my emotions and those of others

#2: Feeling guilty when pursuing your interests

Do you love cooking but are now working as a banker or an office employee, to please your parents, friends, or spouse? If you made this decision to avoid shame or the guilt feelings you have, you are in an enmeshed relationship with your loved ones.

#3: Feeling anxious when separated

If the thought of being away from your loved one gives you jitters, you could be over-dependent on them. Here, you are used to the other person to the extent that you doubt your ability to make the right choices when independent.

#4: Pegging your happiness on your partner

If you know what makes you happy, but consciously decide to set it aside for the sake of your spouse or parent, you could be in an enmeshed relationship. For example, a son may forgo a well-paying job in another state to stay close to the parents. Or, a wife may postpone starting a family to free the husband to travel the world and build his career.

#5: Set your priorities to march your partner

Often, partners have conflicting priorities. However, they come to a compromise to maintain a healthy relationship. In contrast, one person in an enmeshed relationship pushes back their priorities, to give room for the other. And, they may even own these new priorities subconsciously.

#6: Compromising your commitments for the sake of your partner

In a marriage where there are no clear emotional or physical limits, a wife may find herself “echoing” what the husband says or feels; with total disregard to her cares. This wife does this subconsciously to please the partner, or try to cope in the union.

#7: Your relationship isolates you from other family members and friends

Persons in an enmeshed connection feel ultimately and exclusively loyal to each other, to the extent of isolating themselves from outsiders. For example, an adult from an enmeshed family may view a fiancé as a threat to their bond with their parents or siblings.

#8: One person oversteps, ridicules, or shuts down the other’s boundaries

The bossy partner in an enmeshed relationship sees no limit to how far they can interfere in their partner’s life. Hence, they ignore any suggestions that they could be overstepping their limits.

#9: You highly value the close-knit relationship

Enmeshed relationships demand unreasonable loyalty. In turn, the parties feel obliged to be extremely close and dependent on each other. For example, a child growing up with a single mum or dad may assume the role of a surrogate spouse to the surviving parent.

#10: You feel trapped, helpless, and out of control

Enmeshed relationships make you feel responsible for the other. Yet, they leave you unable to help yourself. You base your emotions on your spouse, child, or friend.  In the process, you become trapped and helpless.

Tips for Setting Boundaries When in an Enmeshed Relationship

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Do you suspect that you are in an enmeshed relationship? If so, here are some tips to help you form healthy boundaries: –

  • Understand that, it is not your duty to sacrifice your life for the sake of your parent or family. Instead, strive to exercise a degree of caring that allows you to be free to live as a separate person.
  • Create your private time and space.
  • Learn the art of saying “No”.
  • Practice self-care to overcome low self-esteem.
  • See a counselor who understands enmeshment.

Conclusion

We all can live our lives with passion and purpose. Yet, when we make life decisions out of obligatory guilt, we miss out on a chance to self-fulfillment. You can also tell if enmeshment applies to you by the way you feel guilty, anxious, overshadowed, or over-dependent on the relationship. Strive to set clear boundaries by prioritizing your privacy, self-care routines, and seeking professional help.

Relationships

Relationship Anxiety: 8 Signs You Have One & What to Do About It

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How do you know you have relationship anxiety? Let’s face it; we are all slightly anxious in relationships. Sometimes, you are unsure if you are pulling them closer or pushing them away. Worse, you never know what the future holds.

It is normal to feel anxious. The issue is when you experience it to unhealthy levels. Read on for the tell-tale signs of relationship anxiety and tips on how to overcome it.

What is Relationship Anxiety?

Many times, anxiety is felt in new relationships. However, it’s nothing uncommon to experience it in long-term relationships. If you are already anxious in other life situations, you will most likely experience anxiety, even in long-term relationships.

Relationship anxiety is when people in a relationship have too much fear and worry to the extent it harbors toxicity or hinders it from being fulfilling and healthy. Many psychologists argue that such anxiety is not just for a romantic relationship. It is also experienced in platonic relationships.

8 Signs of Relationship Anxiety

Gaslighting in a Relationship image

Here are signs that may indicate anxiety in a relationship:

#1: Extreme fear of opening up

Holding back when starting a relationship is normal. However, as you build it, you and your partner need to open up to each other. People with relationship anxiety are afraid of letting their partners into their lives. They’re scared that their partners will use their vulnerability against them or that the partner may not just like what they see.

#2: Jealous when your partner is away from you

This is often mistaken for cuteness. However, if you feel jealous whenever your partner spends time with their friends or family without you, you experience anxiety. This goes hand in hand with being clingy or needy.

#3: Feelings of low self-esteem in the relationship

If you feel inferior in your relationship, you could be battling relationship anxiety. This could result in feeling that your partner is too good for you. Also, if your feelings of self-worth are attached to how your partner treats you, it is a possible sign of anxiety.

#4: Overanalyzing situations

It is common to constantly overthink situations such as missed calls, delayed replies, or your partner sleeping early. Besides, if you read deeply into your partner’s words and actions, it is a sign to watch out for.

#5: Need for constant reassurance

Reassurance from our partners is very much needed. You need to compliment and reassure each other. However, if it is a big deal if your partner does not do it that one time, you are probably facing anxiety issues in that relationship.

#6: You overlook issues that genuinely bother you

For instance, if your partner is always late and it bothers you, but you don’t bring it up because you are afraid it will turn into a fight. In any relationship, you should be able to bring up things that bother you without fear.

#7: Doubting your partner’s intentions and feelings for you

People with relationship anxiety will always doubt if their partner truly loves them, even if they have it clear. Also, if you constantly worry that they want to break up, it is a sign.

#8: Missing out on the good times

If you spend most of the time thinking about the bad things that could happen rather than enjoying the good times in the relationship, you are probably facing relationship anxiety.

What Causes Relationship Anxiety?

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There is no single or definite cause of relationship anxiety. The causes vary significantly from person to person. To understand what causes your relationship anxiety, you may do a thorough self-check and introspection.

Here are some common causes of relationship anxiety:

#1: Unpleasant experiences in past relationships

Your past experiences will permanently shape your future. If your partners in previous relationships cheated on you, lied about their feelings, or mistreated or broke up with you unexpectedly, you may be anxious in the subsequent relationships.

#2: Low self-esteem

With low self-esteem, you will always doubt yourself and your worth. This will play a significant toll on your relationship. With this, you will always need reassurance or question every move your partner makes.

#3: Attachment

The attachment style you developed as a child can be secure or less secure. People with less secure attachment styles often had their needs dismissed in their childhood. Think about your childhood relationship with your parents and caregivers and how they impact your current relationships.

How Can You Overcome Relationship Anxiety?

It would be best if you overcame relationship anxiety to build a healthy and meaningful connection with your partner. Apply the following tips to overcome it.

#1: Get Trauma Therapy

One great way to overcome it is to talk to a therapist.

A therapist can help you:

  • Identify childhood trauma that led to the relationship anxiety you are having;
  • Develop secure attachment styles;
  • Calm down your anxiety.

Therapy can also make you a better communicator. Many issues arising from relationship anxiety go hand in hand with poor communication skills. It would be best if you become a better communicator to express your feelings and fears.

#2: Try Being More Mindful

Try focusing on the moment more and not the future or the past. Relationship anxiety is magnified by the fear of the unknown and thinking about all the bad experiences from the future. We do not mean that you should forget all your experiences. We are saying you should learn to acknowledge what you feel every moment and move on.

This is one tangible way to enjoy a relationship fully without overanalyzing the negatives. Do not worry about the future; focus on being happy in the moment.

#3: Build Other Relationships

Relationship anxiety is worse for people with no one else apart from their partners. Have other meaningful relationships outside of your romantic relationship. Have hobbies you can do when not with your partner. This way, you can pursue your partner part-time. Even if they go out without you, you still have something to do instead of worrying about them. You will also live without the fear of ending up alone in case of a breakup.

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Gaslighting in a Relationship: 10 Red Flags & How To Handle It 

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Gaslighting in a Relationship image

Gaslighting in a relationship can be a real nightmare. Unfortunately, many people do not spot it early. And even when they spot it, they do not know the right way to navigate through it. Gaslighting is when the other party makes you question your own experiences and feelings. In a relationship, your partner may psychologically manipulate you to think you remember or feel things wrong.

So What Are the Signs of Gaslighting in a Relationship?

Many people get gaslighted in relationships but do not notice it. However, staying in that environment is psychological torture. In many cases, it does not happen at the start of the relationship. Your partner may build a solid and trustworthy relationship with you. Then, when you are too deep and strongly attached, the gaslighting starts. This is one primary reason why people do not recognize gaslighting.

Below are the common signs of gaslighting in a relationship.

#1: Lying to you

If your partner is a pathological liar, you may want to look deeper at whether or not they invalidate your experiences and perception. Gaslighters are often habitual liars; take note of that. Many times, their stories or excuses are lies. But despite this, they will firmly take their stand and won’t back out even if you call them out.  

#2: Gossip about you 

One thing about gaslighters is they try to win people on their side. With more people on their side, you are more likely to start second-guessing yourself. The only way to win people on their side is to gossip about you. They will expose your vulnerability to others, all to appear like the party on the right side. 

They will also twist their stories and tell you what people think about your emotional state. Such people target spots that are sensitive to you, which they know will hurt the most. 

#3: They distract you 

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Have you ever asked somebody a question, and they answer you back with a question? That is one tactic a gaslighter will use. 

Their answers will often be along the lines of:

  • Are you crazy? 
  • Are you even listening to yourself? 
  • Why don’t you trust me? 
  • Why do you keep following me around like a child?

Such distractors will take you down, which is their winning point. 

#4: Invalidating your feelings and emotions

A gaslighter will never recognize how heavy emotion is on you. They will always invalidate it and say you are overreacting. They will tell you to stop being overdramatic or too sensitive. With this, your instincts will tell you to step and coil back into a shell, which is a gaslighter’s goal (when you cannot express your feelings). 

#5: Strong on the blame game

A gaslighter is always right. This is why all the blame will always come back to you. If you are in a relationship with someone who is always the victim, they could be very calculating with their gaslighting. If you call them out on anything, they will find a way to shift the blame to you. You will always be the reason behind their bad behavior. 

They will never take responsibility for their bad behavior. Or they will say that they did it because you pushed them to do it. 

#6: They coat their behaviors with sweet words

Gaslighters are very calculating. They make you feel like you are in the wrong when it is them. They will, therefore, use sweet and compassionate words to blind you. When you call them out, you will hear things like, ‘You know how deeply I love you….”, or, “I would never cheat on you on purpose….”

They know that these words make you feel good. You may fall for them, but they are all inauthentic.

#7: They retell the story wrongly

When in a relationship, you two know the details of an incident when it happens. However, a gaslighting partner will go out there and retell the story to favor themselves. They may omit parts to suit what they are trying to achieve. Or they may include parts or twist them to make you look bad.

If they omit, exaggerate or twist incidents to make themselves better before others, they have mastered the art of gaslighting well.

#8: They never let you talk during a fight

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Gaslighters can be too loud or talkative during a conflict. They will cut you off or constantly invalidate you; you won’t just get the chance to express yourself.

A psychologist notes that many people resort to sending long messages and emails to express their feelings. Many people may not recognize this, but it is a clear sign of gaslighting in a relationship; you cannot express yourself well with your partner, and the only way out is to send them long messages. 

#9: They never apologize

If you express your hurt feelings to your partner, the only sane thing for them is to listen and apologize if they are in the wrong. However, gaslighters would rather die than apologize. It is not unpopular for them to shift the blame on you and expect you to apologize for their mistakes.

In a healthy relationship, all partners make mistakes. And it is only suitable for them to apologize. However, if you are the only one ever apologizing, yet your feelings are hurt, chances are high you are being gaslit.

#10: You are voiceless in the relationship

A gaslighter makes you feel guilty every other single time a conflict arises. They may also make you feel too needy; you decide to start keeping to yourself. They will always blame you when you express your hurt feelings.

With accumulated guilt, you may decide to start keeping to yourself. If you feel like you cannot express your feelings, or your partner has made it clear that they are not a safe space to talk about what you genuinely feel, they are probably gaslighting you.

How to Deal With Gaslighting?

Here are some tips for dealing with gaslighting in your relationships:

  • Confront your partner about their gaslighting. Many people do not know they are gaslighting others, so call them out.
  • If your partner is narcissistic, for the sake of your well-being, walk away from a such relationship.
  • Get support from friends and professionals.
  • Understand that it is not your job to stop the gaslighting pattern. But it is your job to protect yourself; walk out if the gaslighting persists.

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Karmic Relationships: 8 Undeniable Signs That You Are In One

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8 signs of karmic relationship image

Are you in a passionate relationship that seems to be hitting turbulence every other day? All relationships indeed have ups and downs. But the situation is different with karmic relationships. A karmic relationship’s lows are low, and the highs and very high. It feels like strong waves carrying you.

Karmic relationships are meant to teach you a specific karmic lesson. People in karmic relationships often think they have found their soul mates. But the turn of events in their relationships later proves them wrong.

How do you know when you are in a karmic relationship? Read on to find out more.

What Is a Karmic Relationship?

A karmic relationship is highly passionate yet complicated to maintain. It feels like a raging fire consuming you. It gives you all the adrenaline you need but sometimes burns you too. Knowing you are in a karmic relationship won’t take long. The turbulence and the passion all hit from an early stage.

Here are signs that you are in a karmic relationship.

#1: Instant connection

Was it love at first sight? That is one of the signs that you could be in a karmic relationship. Sometimes if the chemistry is from the word go, it could be due to the connection you had in your past life. If you find that you have everything in common with a person you just met, be on the watch out. It could be the start of a high tidal karmic relationship.

#2: Consistent break-up/make-up cycle

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A karmic relationship is filled with a lot of drama. One of the dramas that stand out is the break-up/make-up cycle. When broken, you feel like you cannot take it anymore. You literally cannot live without them; the attraction is magnetic. However, as soon as you make up with them, you are faced with lots of lows, and you break up again.

Healthy relationships may have drama too, but at a lower level. If you are locked up in the daily drama, it is a sure sign you are in a karmic relationship. Another significant issue is the tendency to create big mountains out of small anthills

#3: There is an overflow of emotions

There will always be a roller coaster of emotions in a karmic relationship. One minute you feel consumed in love, passion, and lust. The next minute, you literally cannot stand the person. You know you are caught up in a karmic relationship, if you’re constantly juggling between too much love and too much detest.

 Also, you may feel addicted to each other.

#4: Repetitive behavior

You might be in a karmic relationship if you constantly have fights about the same things. You fight about an issue, solve it today, and think it is done. However, the same issue arises tomorrow, and it causes another full-blown fight.

The highs of a karmic relationship happen due to you and your partner’s high compatibility. However, the incompatibility results in constant and repetitive fights. If you have to keep solving the same issue every other day, you may want to look at the state of your relationship.

#5: You feel drained

Emotional Exhaustion Image

Karmic relationships can exhaust you. A lot of times, the draining is mental and emotional. However, you may also feel physically exhausted. The repetitiveness, fear, and everyday drama are exhausting. It is normal to feel stressed in such relationships. 

Sometimes, you will feel like you cannot take it anymore. However, you find yourself hanging in there for fear of ending the relationship.

#6: Fearfulness

Sometimes, a karmic relationship may feel like walking on eggshells. The relationship is very volatile and unpredictable. You do not know how the situation will be the next minute. Also, you live in constant fear of the highs suddenly turning into lows or the relationship ending.

If you always feel like you are treading on dangerous grounds, you may want to assess your relationship deeply.

#7: One-sided

Karmic relationships are typically one-sided. If one person crosses oceans for their partner, while the other cannot even jump a puddle for the sake of a relationship, chances are high that it is a karmic relationship.

A one-sided relationship is not difficult to point out. It is always clear that one partner loves the other way too much. If you feel like you cannot survive without your partner, but they can easily survive anything without you, it is one-sided.

The codependency in the relationship makes it difficult for you to break it even when you know it is toxic.

#8: There is nothing much going on outside your relationship

Is it just the two of you by yourselves? No other friends, passions, or hobbies? If it feels like you are pursuing your partner 24/7, you are in a karmic relationship.

This is one reason karmic relationships are difficult to break; you have nothing to return to at the end of the relationship. You have no friends or passions you pursue. The loneliness after breaking up with your partner will send you back into the relationship.

What Do You Do When You are in a Karmic Relationship?

Trauma Bonding Image

When you find yourself in a karmic relationship, remember that it is meant to teach you a karmic lesson about yourself, unconditional love, patience, forgiveness, and relationships in general.

Until we learn the karmic lessons that relationships provide for us, we won’t be able to break the cycle. Even if you break up with your partner, the karmic lessons you haven’t learned from this relationship will manifest in the next one. You will be repeating the cycle until you learn the lesson.

Breaking up with a karmic partner will only cause you pain if you haven’t learned the lesson. However, when the lesson is learned, it won’t be difficult for you to finish the relationship peacefully and harmoniously without causing pain to yourself or your partner. Therefore, don’t rush to end your karmic relationships. Dive deeper into the lesson instead. Learn what needs to be learned, whether it’s acceptance without judgment, compassion, unconditional love, or self-love. It’s only after you have learned the necessary lesson that you’ll be able to finish the karmic cycle.

To help you with this process, you can perform the karmic relationship healing practice to let go of unnecessary negative cords. This practice will help you to remove the unhealthy attachments and make it easier to end the karmic cycle.

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