We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez

Throwback Thursday: 05-23-2021 ENMESHMENT
It's throwback Thursday, and we've got an episode from the archives for you from May 2021. In this episode of We Need To Talk With Kris Godinez, Kris discusses the dangers of an enmeshed relationship. What it is, what to expect when you decide to end it and how to cope.


Kris Godinez  00:02

Hello and welcome to We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez podcast. I’m your host Kris Godinez, licensed professional counselor. I help people get out of, and stay out of, toxic relationships. This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only the views and opinions stated herein are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the ACA, the APA or any other therapist for that matter.

I want to thank my sponsor betterhelp.com. They are an online therapy company. Whether you are in the US or international. They will set you up with a qualified licensed therapist. PhD level or Master’s level. If you are interested in more information, go to betterhelp.com/krisgodinez.

Kris Godinez  00:27

Okay, so enmeshment and codependency Okay, so enmeshment and codependency So, um, it is we are codependent they train us to be codependent so the emeshers train us to codependency so codependency is when our wellbeing depends on the abuser being okay basically. So, what ends up happening is, is in a healthy normal relationship, two people stand on, on their own. They come together they will wobble if one of them leaves they will wobble but they’re okay. In a codependent relationship. It looks like either this you know one person completely leaning on the other person or worse two people leaning on each other like that. And if one goes away, kathunk right?

In enmeshment, it’s, it’s really

Kris Godinez  01:57

it’s this, there’s no boundaries there. If you can’t really tell where one begins and one ends, they are all one. There’s no boundaries, there’s no separation. There’s no like, Look, there’s no space, there’s no space. So, it’s enmeshment is this incredible locked relationship where there’s no personal space, there’s no boundaries, there’s no privacy, there’s no I’m at me, you are you I begin and end here you begin and end there. There’s none of that. So, when you think of an emesher, it is someone usually a disordered parent, that cannot allow the child to have their own space. The helicopter parents, the ones that go to the soccer game or whatever and if the kid you know gets a call on them, they start screaming at the at the coach as if it was them that got the call on them, you know that that kind of thing. It’s like, wait a minute dude or dudette, you’re not playing your kid is, back off, you know, so they there’s no, there’s no space, there’s no separation. I want you to think like stage mom’s or stage dad’s the ones who use their kids to get themselves fulfilled. And they’re living vicariously through their children. So, when you’re dealing with an emesher, they’re the ones who are like, so involved in that person’s life that they’re…. really it’s like, wait a minute, where’s, where’s the space? Where’s the privacy? Where’s the Where do I begin? And then where do they begin? And then what the heck.

So, with codependency they raised us to do that they raised us to have no boundaries. And we quickly learned from dealing with an abuser, that our wellbeing depends on caregiving, taking care of the emesher, taking care of whoever the abusive parent is. And usually, when we are codependent, we’ve been raised that way. We’ve either had a parent that was mentally ill, drugs or alcohol were involved, or sometimes all three. There’s a mental personality disorder going on, there’s a disorder going on, something’s happening over here where the kid feels guilt and obligation and fear to take care of the parent. And that just continues on.

So um, and a great example would be Wil Wheaton. I love Wil Wheaton. He’s been writing these amazing blogs about his childhood. He apparently wrote a book I did not know that I wish I’d known that I would have promoted it. So, but he wrote it like years ago, I’ll try to find it. But his parents were stage parents. And they were interested only in what he could provide for them. And so his books are really amazing on that because he totally describes, you know, what was going on with him. You know, in his blogs. He describes that all the time. So, if you get a chance, check out Wil Wheaton. He’s amazing. I love him. I’ve always loved him. So anyway, there is that so the think stage parents think the enmeshed stage parent that needs to know everything that the child is doing, knows everything. Controls controlling, controlling, controlling, controlling, controlling, controlling, completely enmeshed, like the child is not allowed to make a decision on their own. The decision lies with that parent. There’s an enmeshment going on there’s that Heliocopter, helicoptering Helio, well this hell yeah helicoptering going on so that there’s no chance for that kid to have their own voice or to have their own space or their own privacy or their own anything so um enmeshment is a mentally unhealthy situation and it often happens in really dysfunctional family dynamics.

So, in other words, in a healthy normal family so here’s the thing so I was doing a lot of reading over the last week on this topic because it’s interesting to me and to it’s interesting to me that the DSM refuses to put codependency in there because they’re like well but you know codependency that’s not that bad, I’m like have you actually worked with trauma victims? Can we talk? Hello? You know that kind of thing it’s in there like well but it’s normal to love people and want to do for them and blah blah blah Okay, that’s great. But then codependency is taking it to the next step where it’s not healthy where it’s unhealthy where you are sacrificing your own sense of self in order to help somebody who really should be helping themselves so it’s. it’s enabling kind of thing and it’s and it’s expected and it’s demanded by the abusers so the abusers definitely train us to become enmeshed with them so I wanted to talk about a little bit about this.

So codependency is when we focus in on other people’s problems feelings needs and wants minimizing or ignoring our own okay and that’s why an enmesher loves that, that’s why they’re usually the abuser the enmeshers are the abusers because they want to literally feed off of the codependency it’s like well you owe me you know I’m, I’m ill. I’m sic. I’m mentally ill. I’m, I’m a recovering addict. I’m… whatever. You know and you need to take care of me or you need to turn your eyes the other way and not notice that I’m doing all these dysfunctional behaviors that’s another thing that they do so they play off of our being trained to get our self-esteem from taking care of, from taking care of from taking care of so that is that!

Following symptoms of codependency, you focus on other people’s feelings and problems and ignore your own feelings and needs you may enable, you often feel worried anxious guilty and ashamed and especially they did they in measures do that to us when we start separating from this from them and I’m going to talk to you about what’s going to happen when you start separating from an A measure. You feel responsible for everyone and everything. Oh boy, do I know that one! Yeah, it’s, they will tell you everything is your fault. Like literally everything is your fault. And if they’re not feeling good, it’s your fault. Even though they’re an adult, they’re, you know, doing their own thing.

And enmeshment isn’t just in Parent Child relationships that’s the most common it’s also in romantic relationships. So that’s like the abuser is like right there you know, unwilling to let the person have their own space their own privacy their own life. If this person takes up like if the if the target of abuse takes up painting, they’ll take up painting and they’ll have to outdo them with it that’s enmeshment that’s, that’s craziness that’s not allowing this person to be their own independent person like there’s no boundaries there’s no space there’s no separation. Okay, we are often self-critical of ourselves and perfectionistic because of the enmeshment. They will do things like enmeshers, enmeshment abusers will take over checking accounts infantilize, think that. So, when you’re dealing with somebody who infantilizes you not allowing you to be a regular functioning adult, not allowing you to do your own checking account, not allowing you to make your own decisions, date whoever you want, this is something else creepy that enmeshers do they are overly interested in what the child’s sex life is like. And when I say child, I mean adult child. I mean, like 18, 19 years old, they’re questioning them about their virginity, or they’re questioning them about who they’re sleeping with, or they’re questioning them. And it’s not their business. It’s none of their business. And this is where we get that compulsion to tell our abuser everything because if we had a parent like that, that was enmeshed, that was up in our, all up in our business. We had a tendency to tell them everything in the hope that it would appease them. This is where the people pleasing comes in, hoping that we would appease them and so we tell them everything, but unfortunately all we’re doing is giving them ammo to then use against us at a later date. So, we’ve really got to get out of the out of the habit of telling our abuser everything. Somebody who’s enmeshed, who’s an enmesher, who is enmeshing somebody demands that this person, tell them everything huge mistake, don’t do it. You have the right to privacy. I know I’m all over the place because I got ferklimped with the whole video not working.

We have trouble setting boundaries and being assertive. Yeah. Because every time we do what happens, the enmesher gets pissed. And what they will do is they will say, oh, you’re shutting me out, you’re leaving me out in the cold. Why are you leaving me out in the cold, you’re, you’re abandoning me. So hello, projection there. That’s their issue that is not yours. But an emesher will tell the target of abuse. You’re abandoning me You’re leaving me, you’re freezing me out, you’re leaving me out in the cold blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, when really this person needs to back the hell up, do their own thing and allow this child their space. With an enmesher, they try to be friends with the kid or be friends with the kids friends and be hip or whatever. And, and they don’t have that separation. These are the ones that you know, think they’re the cool parent by throwing the parties and having all the alcohol and this, that and other thing because they’re trying to be liked, right, and they’re also wanting to be up into the kids business, which is no bueno. So um, yeah, that’s good. Okay, um, trouble setting boundaries.

Kris Godinez  11:30

Intimacy, open communication and trust are difficult for the targets of enmeshers because we’ve learned quickly even though we have to share everything we can’t trust because when we did share everything, what would they do? They would use that information at a later date, their own convenience against us to hurt us in some way, shape, or form. Um, okay. We have difficulty asking for and accepting help as a result of an enmeshed parent. So yeah, because when we did ask for help, what would happen? Crickets. Crickets would happen because more than likely if the enmesher isn’t meshing with the child, they’ve also got the spouse being abused or being you know codependent as well. And so, you go to the spouse and say, Hey, Mom, Dad, mom or dad is doing this. And they’ll be like, Oh, it’s not that bad. Oh, well, you know, they had a bad childhood themselves… go blow it out your ear. You know, it just pisses me off. These parents do not protect their children from the enmesher. They don’t, because they are codependent themselves, and they are being abused themselves, and they don’t know how to stop. So, it’s kind of up to us to put that boundary up to separate ourselves out. The reason I’m bringing this up is because I’ve had a ton of questions this week, from people that have got parents, mothers in laws, fathers in laws, that are trying to involve themselves in the kids relationship, or in the kid’s life inappropriately. So this is why I wanted to talk about this.

And especially we’re in June, June is like the traditional wedding month. And some of the stories I’m hearing of these mothers and mothers in laws that are acting as if the wedding is their own instead of their kids. And I’m just like, back the hell up, man. I am all for eloping at this point, I’m telling you, the more I know about these enmeshers, the more I’m like, elope, elope. Just save yourself the money. Save yourself. Go Have a nice trip somewhere.

Anyway, okay, um, you’re hardworking, overly responsible and give to the point of exhaustion because they demand it. And enmeshers demand it. So, enmeshment, enmeshers, they demand that you don’t have a single moment to yourself. How many times have we as the children of these people or the spouse of these people, how many times have we tried to take a break only to be told you’re lazy? What are you doing? Sitting down? Why aren’t you doing the dishes? Why aren’t you out mowing the lawn? Why aren’t you out baba baba baba or we try to take a nap or we try to get sleep at night. And what do they do? They march in they start slamming things preventing us from sleeping so we quickly learned it’s not okay to not be Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go 24 frickin 7. And that is the enmeshers do that because they want us working for them. 24/7, you suppress and numb your feelings, absorb other people’s feelings. Yes. And enmeshers train us to do that. We’ve got to be on the lookout for what their mood is. And if they’re not in a good mood, you better duck and cover or you better figure out a way to make them happy. That is their whole modus operendi. That’s what they do. We have been low self-esteem and feel unlovable or not good enough, especially when we’re unable to entertain the enmeshers insane bar that they set. And then as soon as we reach that bar, what do they do? They move the bar, it’s higher. Well, I’m not happy unless you’re doing this. Well, why aren’t you making this amount of money? Why are you wearing those clothes? Why are you cooking that way? Geez Louise!! Shut that front door! Honest to God, it’s like Shut up, shut up, just shut the hell up. You know, it’s like I get so sick of these people, you know, doing that. And yet, they’re the least perfect people walking the face the planet, but they feel carte blanche to be able to judge the people around them that are, you know, unfortunately, trying to make them happy. But they don’t want to be happy. And this is what you have to get enmeshers enmesh because they feel it’s the perfect way to control because remember, enmeshers, there is no space, they are one with this other person, there is no space. And so that’s the perfect way to control if they can control that person and make sure that they don’t have their own wants, their own needs, their own desires, then they’ll never leave them. So, it’s a really screwed up dysfunctional way to keep the target of abuse with the enmesher. Does that make sense? It should so okay. Okay, there’s that. Okay, we talked about codependency.

Kris Godinez  16:16

So I want to talk about more enmeshment tangled up in enmeshment, okay. So, there’s no boundaries, or identities are wrapped up in meeting the other person’s needs. And our own life goals are thwarted. So how many times have I heard children of abusers tell me that they wanted to go do something only to have the enmesher  abuse for it? Well, you can’t go to college, you can’t leave town, I need someone to take care of me who’s going to take care of Grandma, who’s going to take care of me who’s going to and they do that they absolutely do that! Well, you can’t go to college, you can’t do this, you can’t leave town for this job in a different city or a different state. They sabotage because they do not want their target of abuse to leave. This is all enmeshment. And the scary thing of it is, is they also train us to make excuses for them. I know I know. It’s just I started reading through all of this. And I was like, oh, holy crap. So, this is why when we get confronted with how abusive the situation is, we start making excuses for the abuser, we start making excuses for the enmesher. We start making excuses. Because we’ve been trained, we’ve been trained, we have been groomed, to make excuses for them to write it off, to turn the other way to ignore to whatever. So yeah, it’s deadly. It is deadly. When you realize you’re in an enmeshed relationship and how much they have thwarted your life goals. It’s time to get out and we’re going to talk about how in just a moment.

Okay, we feel an over exaggerated sense of empathy and responsibility for the other person’s feelings when we are enmeshed. We feel guilt and anxiety if we are not constantly thinking about that. How many of us when we’ve left an abusive relationship, have to evict the abuser from our head? Because they’re there 24/7, and you have to kick them out? That’s enmeshment when they are in your head 24/7  that’s why I say write and burn a letter. Dear abuser, bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep and bleep you go pound sand sideways with an unlubricated baseball bat! Thanks for playing! Bye! Get out of my head, raising the rent, bye and then go burn it. You know what I’m saying? So yeah, that’s absolutely it.

Okay, intense fear of conflict. There’s a reason we don’t like conflict we’ve been trained not to like conflict. We’ve been trained not to confront we’ve been trained not to draw boundaries because what happens if we draw a boundary with our enmesher, with our abuser? What would they do? They would punish us because they don’t like it! You’re abandoning me. Guilt, guilt, guilt, control, control, control, fear, fear, fear, fear, obligation, guilt, fog, you know all of that stuff. And they will if that doesn’t work, then they’ll up the ante and punish some other way withholding, the cold shoulder, you know, punishment, that kind of thing.

Okay. Inability to feel happy if the other person is not happy. enmeshment does not discriminate. We can be enmeshed with a parent, a sibling or partner. Enmeshment shows up in a variety of relationships. There’s the 40-year-old man who is afraid to move to another city because of his father who lives next door might disown him. Oftentimes enmeshers, dangle that little inheritance carrot and I know I’ve talked about this in different videos, they dangle the carrot well If you move away, if you leave, I’m going to cut you out of the will. Fine. Bye! That’d be my attitude. Yeah, so there’s that. Then there’s the 35-year-old woman who can’t find her own voice because she’s afraid of stirring up conflict with the husband. Oh, boy, that’s, that’s a problem, especially if the husband is an abuser. And that person needs to get out. Then there’s the 50-year-old woman who feels responsible for her sister’s alcoholic rages. We are not responsible for the abuser, we’re not responsible for anybody else’s feelings. We are responsible for our own. And that’s a really hard concept, the concept for us to get through our head because we’re afraid of the conflict. We’re afraid of saying no, we’re afraid of drawing the boundaries for fear of being punished. So how do we start dealing with this? How do we break out of the enmeshment?

So the first step is you’ve got to realize you’re in meshed. So, all of those things that I just talked about the fear of conflict, the, you know, spilling the beans to the other person telling them everything, those are all signs, you’re in an emeshed relationship. So

Kris Godinez  21:16

the first thing you have to do is recognize you are in an enmeshed relationship, if you related to any of the things that I just talked about, hold on. Okay, secondly, you have to start drawing baby step boundaries. So, when we are in this kind of relationship, mindfulness, mindfulness is going to be your friend. It seriously is it and it’s, it’s hard for us because we have been told multiple times Don’t you dare don’t you dare, don’t you dare, don’t you dare. But mindfulness is going to help you as soon as you recognize, oh my gosh, this is going on I need to start stepping away. So, this is where gray rock can help a lot. This is also boundaries. So, you’re gonna want to start reading up on boundaries like nobody’s business, and I really don’t care which book on boundaries you get, I don’t care if it is, you know, Harriet Braiker’s, The Disease to Please, which is all about codependency. I don’t care if it’s Codependent No More, Beyond Codependent No More by Melanie Beatty or some other book on boundaries, but you have to start working on them. This is where I began. And this is where they begin an end. I have the right to say no, no is your friend no is a good word. They don’t like it, though. They don’t like being told no, it makes them angry. Because now they can’t control you. They’re recognizing that you’re starting to step the heck away.

So, here’s the deal. When we do our list of deal breakers, remember how I talked about that in the past the list of deal breakers? Okay, one of them. Number one disrespect. Okay, that’s a deal breaker. So, when we say no, and the word no, is not honored. That is a disrespect. That’s a deal breaker. So, the word no, not being honored must be one of your deal breakers. So as soon as you say no, and they just go over it anyway, they have shown you who they are and what their true intent is, you be done, be done. So, when you start stepping away from an enmeshed relationship, there is going to be a lot of blowback, I’m not going to lie to you, the abuser, the enmesher is not going to like it that you are no longer their supply that you are no longer giving them what they want, and you’re no longer caretaking them that you are no longer you know, being their puppet, basically.

So, it’s gonna be really important to baby steps start breaking away how to do that you work on self-esteem. You work on self-esteem, I swear to God and all that is holy, everybody always laughs at me, because they’re like, is everything really self-esteem? I’m like, “Yes, yes, it really is self-esteem and boundaries.” People, I swear to God, I swear to God, hand to my heart, swear to God, you work on your self-esteem, you work on the boundaries, you will make yourself bulletproof, but you got to do the work, you can’t just be like, Oh, I’m gonna get the book, and never read it. You got to get the book, you got to read it. And you got to more importantly, put it into action. So, the self-esteem and the boundaries are going to start helping you undo that glue from the enmesher to get yourself on your own two feet. The other thing it is two is you have to get away from them. You cannot fully heal in an environment that is making you sick, and this makes you sick. This makes you sick because there’s no space, there’s no you. There’s only them. It’s like the Borg. You know, I dated myself on that one. But it’s like the Borg it is it’s like that, you know, there’s only one, you know, and, and you have to be them and you have to think the way they do and you have to please them and you have to, you don’t get to have your own life. So, you have to have self-esteem, you have to have boundaries, you have to have your list of deal breakers. And you have to start on unprying them, or prying them and ungluing them away from you, and getting out of that environment seriously and get with a good trauma therapist, and there’s so many good therapy modalities out there. They’re CBT, which is what I do cognitive behavioral therapy. There’s DBT, which is mindfulness. So that’s dialectic behavioral therapy. There’s EFT Emotional Freedom therapy. I believe that’s the tapping one. There is a EMDR which is never can remember what the heck that stands for. Eye Movement. desensitization R

Kris Godinez  25:51

reprogramming? No, yes, possibly I’ll look it up anyway. The point being is, is that there’s a whole bunch of different modalities out there to help you break that bond with the enmesher so that you can get away so you can get space and start working on the codependency the people pleasing that, you know, fawning, that’s a lot that’s a fawning thing when we mesh with somebody when they’ve been meshed us, we’re fawning, we’re fawning, we’re giving in, we’re, we’re becoming that other person so that they’re happy, but they’ll never be happy because they don’t want to be happy. So, huh. Anyway, there’s that!

All right, I’m going to dive into the questions now. I hope that answers the question on enmeshment. So basically, what it is, is that the people that are doing the enmeshing that are enmeshing that are like, you know, winding their way into their kid’s life or their spouse’s life to the point where there is no separation there is no independence. No privacy. No You know, you go do your thing. I’ll go do my thing. I’m so proud of you, you know that they’re like stage mom, stage dad, controlling, controlling, controlling, you have to think the way I think you know, that whole thing. That’s enmeshment. that’s with what Wil Wheaton describes when he talks about his parents. That was enmeshment. That was totally enmeshment. They weren’t listening to him at all. So um, yeah, so there’s that. Um, okay, and then codependency is what we get trained to be by the enmesher so that we continue to take care of them. So, we have got to work on the codependency and people pleasing. We’ve got to work on the boundaries, we’ve got to have a list of deal breakers No, is your friend no is your friend you get to say no. And you have the right to say no. If somebody does not respect the word, no, that’s a disrespect to you, be done, done, done, gone, gone, gone. So do out your list of deal breakers, that’s got to be one of the top three. So um, work on self-esteem, work on boundaries. Okay, now I’m going to take questions. Okay, sorry about that. I just want to make sure I covered that. Alright.

After months of impending and impeding me from having a good internet for work, I’ve installed it anyway. Now they’re demanding me to share my new internet for all, should I negotiate to avoid conflict, I’m not sure of what your situation is, I don’t know if it’s a family relationship, or if it’s just a roommate relationship or whatever. But if they want to use your internet, they need to be paying for it. And they cannot be taking up all the bandwidth, which is the next issue. So, what I’ve also seen them do is they given, they let the person have internet and then they take up all the bandwidth, because they’re watching, you know, Netflix or whatever, and making sure that the person can’t do the work remotely like they’re supposed to. So no, don’t avoid conflict. Don’t avoid it, unless you’re living with them. I mean, if you’re, if it’s, if you’re living with them, and this is like, Oh my gosh, I’m not going to be able to find another living situation, then you need to have some sort of written agreement that they will not take up the bandwidth and that they are paying for it. So don’t avoid things because you’re afraid of conflict. Here’s the thing. We get trained to avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid, because it’s been dangerous for us in the past, okay. And we quickly learn to associate speaking our mind and speaking what’s right with, with conflict, because we’re afraid of what the other person is going to do. If the other person is completely unreasonable, irrational, unreasonable, etc, etc, etc. Yeah, there’s gonna be some conflict there. But since you are installing it, and you are paying for it, no, they don’t get to just use it. They have to pay for it. And they have to make sure that they’re not using up all the bandwidth and if they do you have the right to revoke it. So um, don’t be afraid of conflict. Don’t be afraid of conflict. Our abusers want us to be afraid of conflict. They don’t want us to stand up. They don’t want us to say No, they don’t. They don’t like the word said to them. It feels like an abandonment. And it feels like Well, I’m not getting my way. You don’t love me. Blah blah blah, guilt, guilt, guilt, when really it’s Hey, dude or dudette, I have to work I need this bandwidth I need to have, you know, remote access. Um, this has nothing to do emotionally with you. It’s not about you, have a nice day, you know, but everything’s about them. So, yeah. Anyway, I hope that helps. Don’t be afraid of conflict and and do make sure that it’s on your terms because you’re the ones that you’re the one that’s supplying it You’re the one that’s paying for it. So yeah.

Um, do you find that survivors of abuse often get involved in enmeshment later due to PTSD or hyper vigilance? Or am I confusing hyper vigilance with enmeshment controlling Yes, you’re confusing. So hyper vigilance is when we are on high alert. We are like where’s the danger? Where’s the danger? Where’s the danger? Where’s

Kris Godinez  30:50

the danger? Where’s the danger? Because we’ve been in danger before and we know that we want to stay safe. So, when we have PTSD, we become hyper aware and we’re looking for danger looking for danger, looking for danger, looking for danger. So, like to this day I don’t like being surprised right I mean, I don’t like, like if I come around the corner and John is right there he will be met by a screaming mimi because it will scare the crap out of me and I’ll be like You know what, because my dad used to like to terrify me by scaring so because he was you know read my book anyway. The point being so yeah, so we’re gonna have PTSD and so I’m always on hyper aware you know, it’s like what’s around what’s there, what’s real. Generally, when I go to a restaurant, I don’t like necessarily sitting with my back out towards the open you know thing I like being back against a wall or being back against a booth so I can keep my eye on things that’s just the way I am. So that’s hyper aware. Enmeshment is when we fall on to an abuser. And we start becoming you know, doing the codependency thing we start we allow the inner child to run the show and we start doing the codependency thing and we start getting into that if we have not worked on the, the drama, The drama, that too, if we haven’t worked on the trauma or the drama with the trauma, then we will have our inner child running the show and not even be aware of it. And so, the inner child will be the one that will pick somebody that reminds us subconsciously of our family of origin Oh, I know here’s this person out here that kind of, sort of, reminds me of this person here. If I can make them love me, I prove these people wrong. Half of the doodoo sandwich, half of a doodoo sandwich, total doodoo sandwich y’all don’t want that. So, if we become enmeshed if we don’t work on the trauma so CPTSD From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker that’s the book you want to get. I don’t like the audio because the audio the guy who does it, I want to throat punch. So, get the book I like that one better I like books I just fricken like books. So, but if you have to listen to the audio, you’ve been warned. So um, anyway, CPTSD From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker. And you got to work on the trauma, you got to work on all the mistaken thoughts, all the mistaken beliefs, Inner Child Workbook by Katherine Taylor, you’re going to start working on the inner child growing that little one up protecting that little one, making sure that they’re safe, making sure that they are not doing the picking, adult you is doing the picking, and that you’re not, you know, trying to work out the past trauma with somebody else that’s just going to re traumatize you. So yeah, so I hope that answered the question. If it did not, please feel free to ask another question or, you know, you can always IM me over on Facebook. Or you can ask, you know, leave it in the comments, or whatever, and I’ll try to get a better answer for you. So, I hope that answered your question.

Is it normal for a narcissistic mother to be a meshed in their children’s lives? Yes. That she sabotages their lives and becomes completely dependent on her children and pit the children against each other. You just described every single narcissistic mother in the country. Yes, this is what they do. So, it’s weird. It’s like Narcissists do, abusers do one of two things they either when they have kids, they want nothing to do with them. They didn’t really want them they just were using them to anchor themselves to a spouse or to an inheritance or to you know, whatever. And you know, they just don’t care they let the kids go and they just don’t care they literally don’t raise them.

Or conversely, you have the abusers that are really up in the kid’s lives like mini me. Oh, I’m so glad you brought this up. I forgot to mention this one was talking about enmeshers. So, narcissists are perfectly okay with kids until they hit about four or five maybe around six around that age when the kid starts developing their own sense of self and their own likes and their own wants and their own needs. Prior to that, and this is the scary thing. I will see narcissists dress the kids like them so that there are mini me’s like seriously like little teeny tiny versions of the narcissist. This goes for narcissistic dads, narcissistic moms. So, it’s like oh my mini me and they want that kid to think the way they do, eat the way they do, believe the way they do, talk the way they do, dress the way they do, etc, etc, etc. And they are completely enmeshed in that kid’s life because they want that kid to turn out just like them. Good lord. So that’s one version of, you know, the opposite end. And they become enmeshed and

Kris Godinez  35:39

and they’re controlling and then when that kid develops their own personality, that’s when they start rejecting them how horrible to do that to a six-year-old. But they do you know, they become enraged that the child is not just a puppet or a doll that they can dress up and play with. Um, but yes, narcissistic mothers particularly do what you just described, that they sabotage they become completely dependent on the children. They pit the kids against each other. It’s, it’s a game for them. It’s like, it’s like, what’s the word I’m looking for? It’s like, a gladiator game. You know, it’s like, oh, woo hoo, look, I get to have these two fighting each other haha. And they enjoy it. It’s drama. It’s drama. They love drama. They love drama. I’ve got a T shirt with a llama on it. And it says only you can prevent drama. The no drama llama. So, you know, they love drama. That’s their thing. So yeah, they absolutely do stuff like that. Or they completely ignore the child. That’s the other thing you know, abandon them. They want nothing to do them. They weren’t really interested in having a mini me they just wanted a way to get their hooks into somebody or get their hands on money or whatever. Yeah.

Um, okay, um, if two survivors don’t heal their stuff, can they accidentally do this enmeshment thing with each other? Yes. Can they fix it if they both go to therapy and work on self-esteem Glen Schiraldi The Self-Esteem Workbook. Boundaries, The Disease to Please Harriet Braiker, CPTSD From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker. Inner Child Workbook by Katherine Taylor. And you’re going therapy to work on all of this stuff from the past. Yeah, absolutely. And yes, that can happen. Yeah.

Is enmeshment a matter of amount of time together or more like this being caught in a spider’s net, it’s more like a spider’s net. So, like, you literally don’t have to be physically with them to have them in your head. Which is so scary. So, the enmesher just wants to be up in everything up in everything, they have to know everything. Like they literally have to know everything. When I say that, I’m not kidding. They get enraged if the target of abuse is not constantly filling them in. And a couple of weeks ago, I talked about the question from somebody that was like, you know, my mother-in-law wants to sit in on couples counseling. Now, that’s enmeshment, they want to know what’s being said, they need to know what they think they need to know, they want to know, because they know that it’s going to boil back down to family of origin, which means their parenting. So yeah, they want to be involved, involved, involved, involved, involved. So, it’s not necessarily how much time you spend with somebody, it’s more the intent. So, like, if a person is not allowed their own thoughts, if a person is not allowed their own privacy, if a person is being told that they have to tell this person, everything, they may not be with them all the time, but this person is constantly wanting to know what’s going on? What’s going on? What’s going on? What’s going on? And it’s like, stop, you know, I mean, I was thrilled, again, dating myself. I was thrilled when answering machines came out because my mom unfortunately was doing that. What are you doing? Where are you going? Who are you seeing what if you know, cuz she was with dad and dad was an abuser. And la, la, la, la and her mom was an abuser. So, you know, and so when the answering machine came out, I was like, you know, and I was like, Please leave a message at the tone. I could have been sitting there on the couch, and I still wouldn’t have answered the phone because it was wonderful to have that space. And of course, later on, she would yell at me. You know, why didn’t you answer your phone? What were you doing? I point blank told her was none of her business. And it was really hard for her because she had been trained to be enmeshed by her narcissistic mom. And of course, she was married to my dad, and as we all know, he was batshimomo, crazy. So, you know, teaching her showing, her how to have boundaries. You know, it’s like, this is a boundary mom, sorry, I’m working with my therapist. Guess what? You don’t need to know everything I’m doing. Thanks for playing blah, blah. You know, and that was hard on her, but it was hard on me, but it was so freeing. Holy cow. I mean, it was just like, I don’t have to answer the phone if I don’t want to. I don’t have to tell her who I’m with. I don’t have to tell her what I’m doing. You know, so um, it’s all a matter of time, and then it’s a matter of being in your head because then that got into my head a lot. And there was that, you know, oh, I have to tell them… No, no, no, no, you know, no. I don’t, I don’t have to tell. I don’t have to tell my dad; I don’t have to tell anybody. I am an adult. Thanks for playing. I don’t owe anybody an explanation and you got to get that through your head. You don’t owe anybody an explanation. You really don’t.

Okay, if I meet someone new, and we spend a lot of time together, how do I know whether we are enmeshed? Okay.

Kris Godinez  40:22

So, when an abuser is love bombing, okay, they want to spend every single waking moment with their new target with their new supply. So, it’s normal to want to see the new person often because you like them, and you’re getting along. But you know, Shahida posted a wonderful meme. And I think I posted it on my, my web page. And it said, you know what other people think when they’re dating and what I think when I’m dating, she’s, she’s in that dating age there. And so, what other people think is, oh, wow, he’s really into me. He’s asking all these questions. We’re spending all this time together. This is great. what she’s thinking is, why is he asking me all of these really intimate questions right now? Why is he giving me all of this over-the-top attention? Why is it that he wants to spend every single waking moment with me and this is what people who’ve been abused tend to ask themselves when they start dating again, and you have to, because what do abusers do when they love bomb? Oh, you like pizza? I like pizza. It’s like It’s like Prince Hans and Ana from Frozen. You like pizza? I like pizza! You like Moose? I like moose! You like to ice skate? I like to ice skate! They suddenly like everything that you like, and oh, look at how much in common we have. It’s normal to have some things in common, but it is not normal to have everything. Are they mirroring you? That’s another question that she asked on her thing. You know, why does it feel like this person is mirroring me? What’s up with that? You know? So yeah, so it’s something to think about? It’s like, how much time is too much time together? Well, it would be normal to see each other, you know, once, twice a week, maybe three times at the most. But you know, if they’re demanding every day, every day, every day, every day, that’s a red flag. That’s a red flag because you’ve got your own life. So be careful with that. Revisit. The Object of My Affection is in My Reflection Coping with a Narcissist by Rokelle Lerner. She talks about the love bombing, she talks about how they want to spend every single waking moment with the person. So yeah, revisit that.

Um, what is a normal relationship with your parents? Maybe this will help me discern what is not what not to accept from them. So, a normal healthy relationship is the parent is the parent, you know, they’re not your buddy. They’re not your friend. They’re also not a dictator. It’s like that beautiful middle ground between friend and dictator. So, they are supportive. They’re loving, they’re kind, they do ask how you’re doing. But they don’t ask inappropriate questions. They don’t want to know the state of your virginity, for example, or they don’t want to know who you’re sleeping with.

Kris Godinez  43:01

Or, you know, I mean, they may say things like, be safe use, use protection, that’s what a normal parent would say. But they’re not like all up in your business, needing to know every waking moment where you are, what you’re doing, who you’re with, what you’re saying, what’s going on. This, that, the other thing, they’re also not trying to be your age, that’s the other thing I’ve seen these abusers do is that they try to act like they’re they, they are the age, that son or daughter is, um, you know, that kind of thing. So, a normal relationship with a parent is they’re loving, they’re kind, they’re supportive, they’ll tell you the truth. You know, they’ll be like, I think you’re on the wrong path. Here’s why I think you’re on the wrong path. I’m concerned, you know, but they’re willing to listen to you, they’re willing to talk it out. They’re not like my way or the highway, which is what abusive parents do. And they’re also not trying to be your friend. You know, they’re willing to be honest, open real with you. So, I hope that helps.

Um okay. My partner’s mom enmeshes. We plan to move him out. Is that a good plan for his healing journey? Oh yeah. Oh god yeah. If you’re in a relationship with a parent and you’re living with them and they’re enmeshed, like they’re up in your business, know everything, want to be a part of everything. Oh my God, that’s the other thing. I’ve seen these enmeshed mother in law’s demand to be invited out to things that have nothing to do with them. Like say the spouse wants to go hang with the girlfriends, they’ll demand that they go to and then if you don’t invite them, they do the whole you’re freezing me out. You don’t love me blah blah, blah. And I’m like, good God woman! Get your own friends, but they don’t, they don’t have their own friends. So, because remember, that’s the hallmark of abusers. They don’t have friends, they don’t. So um, yes, getting away from an emesher is a great idea. Be prepared for the blowback. Like I said, enmeshers don’t like being abandoned. They don’t like being left behind but you have to if you want to grow you got to get away from them absolutely be prepared for the blowback though it’s going to happen, they’re going to punish they’re going to you know fear, obligation guilt. You’re abandoning me you’re, you’re giving me the cold shoulder. Why are you leaving me? Why are you doing this? Now, I’m gonna write you out of the will you know, any and all of the manipulations that they’ve ever pulled will come flying out of the out of their, out of their mouths.

Okay, what to do if in an enmeshed relationship after infidelity, they are claiming to want to give it another go. Oh, boy, but neither words nor actions seem to reflect. So, I would strongly suggest that you read After The Affair. And if their actions and their words are not matching, that means they’re lying. So, actions and words have to match if they are not matching… Mm hmm. No way, man. No way. No freakin’ way. Can a marriage survive infidelity? Yeah, it can. It absolutely can. If the person who did the infidelity is willing to work on themselves and get real, and be honest. And realize, I hate to say this, but a lot of times when an infidelity happens, especially serial infidelity, it’s usually from an abuser. It’s usually they’re narcissistic, because they’re looking for that harem, to keep going to feed their ego. So, I would say read After The Affair, I don’t know who it’s written by, you can find it on Amazon. Um, and, honestly, if they’re not in therapy, and if their actions and words are not matching. Right away, right away, save yourself, run away.

How do we learn to trust, okay, so after an abusive relationship, we do not trust and with good reason, because we haven’t had any reason to, because they’ve taken what they’ve learned, and they used it against us. So, learning to trust means we have to learn to trust ourselves. I know. So that means we have to work on self-esteem, The Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn Schiraldi, we have to learn to trust ourselves, we have to work on self-esteem. The Self-Esteem Workbook, by Glenn Schiraldi. You got to work on the self-esteem. Because when we have self-esteem, guess what? We start trusting ourselves, because we like ourselves, and we can feel when things are off. Have you guys ever walked into a room and met somebody and you were just like, Oh, I, oh, I don’t like that person. I have never spoken to them. But I swear to God and all this holy, I don’t like that person. What is up with that? That’s your gut instincts people. That is your gut instinct. And then it turns out, right, you know, it’s like this person was slimy, or this person was this, that or the other thing or whatever. So that’s your gut instinct.

Kris Godinez  47:57

That’s what you need to start trusting our guts are always talking to ourselves, but our abusers have taught us to stop hearing it. So usually, the gut is the one that says, oh, pink elephant in the corner of the living room, taking a big dump. What the heck, you know, and then our abuser when we pointed out goes, there’s no pink elephant. What are you talking about? Or I’ll beat the pink elephant out of you, which was my dad. You know, so we learned very quickly to stop listening to our gut instinct, so we must get back into self-esteem. We must get back into trusting our body, The Body Keeps Score Bessel Van de Kolk. Excellent book! Read it! So, our gut instinct… don’t listen to your head, don’t listen to your heart. These two guys tell stories. They do! Drama stories, drama lots of drama. Well, yes, but no but. How about this then? What about that? And what if over there? What if over there? No, that’s, that’s the head and the heart. The gut is a simple yes or no answer to a yes or no question or it’s a feeling. Okay. your gut instinct, your gut feeling. So, for me, I don’t like peanut butter. I know I’ve told you this, guys this a lot. I hate peanut butter, the texture. I don’t like the texture. But I do like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. So, if I asked my gut, Hello, gut. Do you like peanut butter? It’s like this visceral kind of Oh god. No. Okay, gut, do you like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Oh, yes. That’s a calm feeling. And it’s a yes or no, there’s no story. There’s no story. So, you get into the habit of starting to train yourself to get back in touch with the gut instincts by asking yourself questions you already know the answer to and then you expand that to Oh, okay, so so wants me to go do this with them? Is that a good idea? Yes, or no? Oh, hello, gut. Oh, oh, no, it’s not okay. And then trust that. So, do you see where I’m going with that? So, you start expanding it. So yeah, that’s how you start learning to trust. You got to learn to trust yourself first. Because what we do is, we’re told not to hear, what we hear. We’re told not to see, what we see. We’re told that no, we don’t notice the abuse going on. And pretty soon we convince ourselves it’s not. Right? And then when we get out in the world and have been abused then we’re like, oh my gosh, I don’t know how to trust myself because I’ve been told for so many years that I can’t trust what I hear or trust what I see or trust what I feel. Well, now you got to start training yourself to trust what you hear, to trust what you see, to trust what you feel and it’s a process and it takes practice you’re not going to just leave the relationship and be like, you know, oh, I can trust now it’s going to be like leaving the relationship whether it’s a parental or romantic or whatever, and working on okay gut hi, listening to my body listening to my gut do i do i like this? Do I not like this? Is this good? Is this not good? And it’s practice. It’s practice, practice, practice. So, practice and do the books actually do the books put them into action so you can buy all the books in the world but if they’re sitting on your desk, collecting dust, they’re not going to do any good. Or if you just read them and don’t do the stuff it’s not going to do any good. You’ve got to put it into everyday action. So yeah, absolutely.

Is it normal for an abuser to send unwanted gifts that the abuser knows the recipient doesn’t like to try to be more enmeshed with the target? Yeah, they can they, they, they do all sorts of weird things that either go over the top of stuff they know you do like or they send stuff that you they know you don’t like and then when they don’t see it in your house, they use that as the excuse to have the pity party. Fear. Obligation. Guilt. Why don’t you have that ugly hideous thing that I bought you on your coffee table, you know, so avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid avoid!

What book would you read first? Huh? Hmm. Well, it depends on what your goal is. So, if you’re wanting to know what narcissistic abuse is like really like the from the love bombing to the discard, then The Object of my Affection is in My Reflection Coping with a Narcissist by Rokelle Lerner.

Kris Godinez  52:09

If you are wanting to work on self-esteem, you know like you wanting to get more strong in who you are, then I would say The Self Esteem Workbook and couple that with The Disease to Please so you can work on boundaries and self-esteem at the same time. If you are wanting to understand the abuse, like okay, I’ve got all these mistaken thoughts I’ve got all these mistaken beliefs. Then I would dive straight into CPTSD From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker and or Inner Child Workbook by Katherine Taylor. It depends on where you are and it depends on what is going to help propel you forward best so self esteem you cannot go wrong with seriously working on your self-esteem you cannot go wrong with the only time that that would be an impediment, is if you’re still in the environment in which you are getting damaged because the abuser will undo any good stuff that you’re doing. Like you know, if you’re doing mirror work, they’re gonna make fun of you for it. If they find the self-esteem workbook, they are going to want to lose it. That I’ve seen that happen. They’ll steal it, they’ll lose it Why are you reading this? Or if you’re reading The Object of My Affection, why are you reading about Narcissists? You know, you don’t ever want them to see what you are working on. That’s really important. So really, it’s like what books speaks to you. You know, usually when I go to buy, like if I’m at a bookstore, and I see a title and it jumps out at me, like The Object of My Affection did that. I was walking through and I saw it in my local bookstore. And it literally jumped out at me and I went,”Oh my God, this is what I need for my clients! This is perfect! You know? And um, you know, when I read that, and I and people who are trying to wrap their heads around narcissistic abuse, I have them read that, because it helps them. Yes, you’re not crazy. Yes, you did go through all of this. Yes. What you experienced has been experienced by other people. You’re not alone. So yeah, it just depends on what the what you’re wanting to work on and what speaks to you and there is no wrong answer. There is no wrong answer. Start wherever you want to. The only caveat I would give you. Like I said, you don’t want your abuser to have any access to what you’re working on or what you’re reading. Keep the book someplace safe. And if you do start with CPTSD From Surviving to Thriving and or The Inner child Workbook by Katherine Taylor, the first one is by Pete Walker. It can trigger you, it will trigger you it absolutely will. So have something else on the backburner that you can read that’s a little lighter, you know, so that you can kind of switch back and forth but don’t stop. Don’t stop. So, there’s that.

Okay. All right. My love’s oh my goodness, we’ve gone over time. Okay. So, I hope that answered your questions on enmeshment and all that sort of good stuff. So anyway, thanks, you guys. Have a great week and I will talk to you where is my cursor there it is. I will talk to you next Sunday. Bye.

Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. You can always listen live on YouTube every week Sunday at noon, Arizona Mountain Standard Time. And if you want to find out more or listen to other episodes, you can go to Chris godinez.com and if you have a chance, subscribe to this show on whatever podcast app you use and let other people know about. I want to thank my sponsor betterhelp.com. They are an online therapy company. Whether you are in the US or international. They will set you up with a qualified licensed therapist. PhD level or Master’s level. If you are interested in more information, go to betterhelp.com/krisgodinez.

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