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Enmeshment vs Connection

For codependents, enmeshment and connection can feel very much like the same thing.

Use this quick-list to help you discern between these very different experiences of relating with others. It can help you discover where you may be enmeshing or where another may be enmeshing with you.

Note: Quick-lists & Infographics are snapshots on a concept or topic. They are, by nature, limited in their scope. It is entirely expected that the quick-list does not cover everything or may lack certain nuances. Keep that in mind while using them.

ENMESHMENT

  • Sense of being blended with the other
  • A merging of self with the other
  • Lose contact with one’s boundaries, individual desires, wants, needs, and feelings
  • Emotions and feelings feel blurry, mixed up, and not sure who’s is who’s
  • Boundaries are fluid, undefined
  • One loses their sense of self when the other is gone
  • Obsessive thinking and fixation on the other person, what they’re feeling, thinking, doing
  • One’s sense of value and realness is heavily reliant on the feedback of the other person
  • Behaviors: People-pleasing, obsessing around making them happy, ignores boundaries, distress when they aren’t there or there is conflict
  • Sensations: Panic, euphoria, fear, emptiness, loneliness, incompleteness, chaotic, unstable, unreliable

CONNECTION

  • A strong sense of individuality
  • A consistent experience of warmth and presence between all involved
  • Strong sense of who’s emotions is who’s
  • Boundaries are clear, respected, understood
  • Mindful consideration of the other and care for their present experience
  • Considerate, caring, empathetic
  • One’s value and person is independent of the other person’s approval, love, and opinion
  • Individual goals and desires along with mutual goals and desires
  • Behaviors: Honest, kind communication, respects boundaries, playful, takes time with self, shares desires, needs, wants
  • Sensations: Calm, safe, playful, open, clear, defined, pleasant, warm, reliable
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