I don’t say this to bash gentle Parenting people, but as a cautionary tale. I have heard there is no such thing as too much love or connection for a child. This is what some gentle/attachment parents say.
Yes there is. (In a way). Stay with me.
There are parents who consider themselves to be highly empathetic and connected to their children. This is what they say. And it feels really true and good to be so loving. I know, from experience.
However, there is a closeness that is too close, an unhealthy closeness. It’s hard to understand that a parent could be too close. How could this be?
It is something called enmeshment, and can lead to enmeshment trauma. To the parent doing it, it feels like love. The enmeshment can be justified in the name of peaceful parenting or a close attachment style parenting.
The real problem here is that the parent looks to, and creates an environment where, the child(ren) satisfy her emotional needs. This is destructive and unhealthy. The codependent bond results in children who grow up confused about boundaries, lacking confidence, who are dependent, and anxious.
Here are some signs you might be an enmeshed parent:
👉 Much of your happiness or contentment relies on your relationships with your child(ren).
👉 Your life is centered around your children. Your purpose and self-esteem is contingent upon this relationship.
👉 When there’s a conflict or disagreement in your relationship with your child, you feel extreme anxiety or fear or a compulsion to fix the problem.
👉 When you’re not around the child or can’t talk to them, “a feeling of loneliness pervades [your] psyche. Without that connection, the loneliness will increase to the point of creating irrational desires to reconnect.”
👉 There’s a “symbiotic emotional connection.” If they’re angry, anxious or sad, you’re also angry, anxious or sad. “You absorb those feelings and are drawn to remediate them.”
👉 You neglect other relationships because of a preoccupation or compulsion to be in the relationship with your child (ren)
It comes as a surprise to parents who thought that they were doing the right thing, who thought that there was no such thing as too much closeness.
So, this is not meant to criticize, but to serve as a warning. Keep a lookout for it. Be present and involved, yes, but help everyone in the family establish and hold healthy boundaries as well. Follow this link to learn more on ending enmeshment: https://bit.ly/2OyY2qV