Hi, Bitzee. xoxo My understanding would be that someone in my family is enmeshed with my abusive mother when/if I try to make a move to create a boundary with HER and HE/SHE (the family member) starts to punish me for that or take her side on that or escalate the chaos because I am trying to be healthy. I was enmeshed, TO THE MAX, at one point in my life with her. I bought all the "poor thing" stories she told about herself minutes after tearing into one of us. It was always us apologizing to HER after one of her raids/rants/assaults.
Enmeshment means I might or might not understand that what she is doing is WRONG, but that the price for me to speak up and say something is too high. I am not going to rock the boat. I am going to go along to get along. I am going to ENCOURAGE OTHERS to do so, like, "You know that's just the way she is, why'd you have to get her all upset at a time like this, YOU really ruined our holiday dinner!" Putting the blame/responsibility on the wrong person for the chaos/outbursts is enmeshment. Patronizing her and succumbing to her every outrageous demand is enmeshment. Never saying NO is enmeshment. I did all those things for most of my life. Lying on her behalf is enmeshment.
In a partnership thing, it's looking the other way if your partner is abusing the children. It's never saying STOP when they abuse you. It's making all those pathetic excuses that many people see right through for her or his behavior that's ruined some type of special event.
Enmeshment means you're way in over your head. You give this person lots of leeway, lots of opportunity to keep abusing you. You can't see the absolute disorder and wrongness of what's happening right in front of you.
And you don't ever EVER appreciate anyone else seeing it or labelling it as wrong or making the break. Because the backlash will fall on you. Self-preservation can mean one stays silent or takes it out on the wrong person instead of accosting the bully. Accosting the bully never really pays off, but you can't blame the wrong party either!
I can't think of much else. Google "enmeshment" and read up on it. I never would've known I was doing this. I thought I was being a diligent, decent, long-suffering Christian child to my mother. hah.
I did it. But once I got out, I saw how my siblings responded - certain ones were cool with me doing what I had to do, and the more ENMESHED ones let me have it - how dare I? :-X
Hope this helps. xoxo