Saturday, December 11, 2010

Attunement vs Enmeshment

Therapists, books, websites all say we are to be "attuned" to our child. Not many speak of enmeshment. Enmeshment is a trap many parents, especially moms, fall into.  Here is the difference.

Attunement: Is essential in attachment with your child. It simply means being in touche, in sync, with your child's emotions, mood, and feelings. It is looking them in the eye and truly knowing and feeling their pain or fear.  It is walking a mile in their shoes so to speak and letting them know that you know.

Enmeshment: is when you not only get in touch with their emotions, mood, and feelings, but take them on as your own;  when you feel you are responsible for those emotions, moods and feelings. It is when you become so entangled with your child you do not know where he or she ends and you begin.

It is easy to attempt the first, attunement, and get caught up in the second, enmeshment, especially if you are a person who is strong in the feeling/emotion way of looking at life.

I speak from experience.

It is so important we are attuned to our child. We need to be able to step into their world and walk around in it. It helps us to understand them. But we must be able to then step back out and help them in understanding their world while living in our own.

This requires boundaries. If you believe you are having some problems with this here are some things that helped me.

Take time with your husband and don't talk about the kids. (can you do that?)
Hang out with friends and don't talk about the kids.
Hang out with your other kids and don't talk about your hurt child.

Have fun!! Can you do that? If not, it might be time to look at yourself and see if you have become overly involved in your child's pain.  It is a fine line. If you can't sort it out yourself, seek out help from a professional or a parent who is experienced with RAD. We are here to help each other.

Have a healing FUN weekend.

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