This is an amazing post. I read it three times and kept saying "yup...yup...yup."
I'd never experienced enmeshment before. It took me a long while before I understood it. During my time with dxBPDgf, I felt like I was losing who I was. I'd even had friends comment to that effect. I finally understood it as one of the subtle and cancerous forces that really making me unhappy. I'd always been independent and self sufficient. With dxBPDgf I felt smothered, like a lid on a pot. I couldn't go to work without my phone exploding with texts; there were always subtle things to get my attention. I had a hard time focusing independently on the things I wanted to do, because I was always being pulled in the direction that dxBPDgf wanted me to go in.
DxBPDgf would say to me, 'I don't know where you stop and I start.' At the time I thought it was the wierdest statement I'd ever heard. Once I understood enmeshment, I had a lightbulb moment. She WANTED that overlap that intermixing. She had created that in her children to where that was the norm and expectation. Her children, her son especially, was having a bad time functioning in relationships that weren't enmeshed (school, peers etc.). He was very angry when people wouldn't fall into this relationship structure. Boundaries? Oh my, that was a fast way to get his wrath.
In subsequent introspecting, that was one of the subtle battlegrounds - independence vs enmeshment. I kept pushing towards healthy independence by both parties - dxBPDgf was pushing for enmeshment. It fueled many a fight.
Point #6 is important, because deep connection and intimate sharing was never achieved. There was the initial pull towards one another (in the idealization and mirroring phase which I fell for). However, when the transition started out of that to a more deeper connection - nothing was there. It was like being in a funhouse full of mirrors - distorted images, strange things going on etc. Alas, that was the disorder. DxBPDgf was trying, but the underbelly of the disorder was coming out because she was letting her guard down. I knew that I wanted that mature love of depth and of connection - I knew something was off 3 or so months in. I stayed because I wanted to try. Try I did, and learn a lesson I did. A disordered person whom you are now the trigger for the likelyhood of them improving is slim because they turn it on you. It became a cycle. Once the the walls came down of all the lies and the twists of the truth as well, I had to go.
What I had wasn't even in the same galaxy as Point #6.
Thanks for posting this Skip! A little introspection and further understanding on Sunday is a good thing!
What does it feel like to be "interdependent"? I'm not suggesting that this is an easily acheivible state with a partner with BPD - but as the emotional leaders its important that we know what the ideal is.