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Beyond Bitchy: Mastering the Art of Boundaries

Mar 13, 2019

This is the first episode of the month, so it’s dedicated to the topic of women and boundaries. Specifically, this episode is a response to a listener’s question about being in a relationship with a man who suffers from mother enmeshment. If you haven’t heard of this term, this episode will clarify what mother enmeshment is, how it develops, as well as what you need to know if you are in an intimate relationship with a mother-enmeshed spouse.

Biggest Takeaways From Episode #48:

  • Enmeshment is a boundary issue. It means that there are poor (or no) boundaries between two people or within a family system. These poor boundaries don’t allow the child independence or the ability to express themselves independently.
  • In adulthood, mother enmeshment can manifest as being commitment-phobic, a sex addict, or a perpetual adolescent.
  • If you’re in a relationship with a mother-enmeshed man, he probably sees you through the lens of his childhood experience with his mother. Keep in mind this has almost nothing to do with you, but rather his childhood experience of his mother.
  • One tool for making a request of a mother-enmeshed man is to give him at least 24 hours to answer. If he agrees to do something you asked him to do, and then resents or regrets it, don’t take it personally — it's not about you.

Highlights from Episode #48:

  • Welcome to the podcast! This one is dedicated to the topic of women and boundaries, specifically about being involved with a man who suffers from mother enmeshment.  [00:40]
  • Vicki explains what mother enmeshment is, and talks about the “ick factor” this term can evoke. [02:44]
  • We hear a quick example of the kinds of things that a mother with boundaries might share with a child, as well as how being mother-enmeshed can manifest in adult men. [08:08]
  • Mother-enmeshment is often described as the mother putting a boy child on a pedestal or treating him as a hero, Vicki explains. [13:26]
  • Vicki talks about other kinds of mother-enmeshment that may sound more familiar. [15:29]
  • How does all of this impact the partner of a mother-enmeshed man? [18:30]
  • Vicki gives a relatable example of how mother-enmeshment comes up, and how to handle it. [25:37]
  • Don’t take it personally when your mother-enmeshed spouse agreed to do something and then resents or regrets it. [33:20]
  • Vicki points out something else to remember: you cannot change another person. [37:06]
  • It is possible to develop compassion around the toxic legacy of enmeshment. [41:53]

Links and Resources: