"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you." —Kahlil Gibran
Symptoms of enmeshed parenting:
- Your children's good or difficult behavior and successful or unsuccessful achievements define your worth.
- Your children are the center of your life—your sole purpose in life.
- Your focus is on taking care of your children rather than taking care of yourself.
- Your happiness or pain is determined by your children.
- You are invasive—you need to know everything about what your children think and do.
The consequences of enmeshed parenting on your children:
- They may grow up feeling responsible for others' feelings while ignoring responsibility for their own. They might feel selfish if they take care of themselves and could become compliant and disconnected from themselves.
- They may use you as their role model—making others responsible for their feelings, rather than being self-responsible.
- They may feel invaded and controlled by you and as a result, withdraw, resist, or act out in anger. As adults, they may have a hard time taking responsibility for themselves.
- They will likely have problems in their adult relationships, both work and personal—being a taker, a caretaker, withdrawn, angry and/or resistant.
- They might feel lost and empty inside as a result of not learning how to take responsibility for their own feelings.
As a parent, it is vitally important to have a sense of passion and purpose in your life, separate from your children. And, it is essential that you learn to define your own sense of worth, rather than making your children's behavior responsible for this. It is too big a burden for children to be the center of your life. 10 Ways To Teach Your Kids About Healthy Relationships
Enmeshed parenting places too big a pressure on them to act right, perform right, and/or look right, in order for you feel that you are okay. Defining your worth through your children makes them feel trapped in being what you want them to be, rather than being themselves.
If you do not have work, hobbies or other interests that are important to you, then you might be making your children your sole purpose in life, and you might be making them responsible for your feelings of self-worth.
Healing Enmeshed Parenting
Your children need you to be a role model of taking loving care of yourself; of defining your own worth and taking responsibility for your own feelings of pain and joy. They need to see you as a productive member of society, whether it is through your work, volunteer work, or creative activities and hobbies. They need to feel free to be themselves and follow their own path in life, without feeling that they will hurt or disappoint you. 10 Parenting Secrets To Empower Kids
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