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Before you can make things better, you have to stop making them worse... Have you considered that being critical, judgmental, or invalidating toward the other parent, no matter what she or he just did will only make matters worse? Someone has to be do something. This means finding the motivation to stop making things worse, learning how to interrupt your own negative responses, body language, facial expressions, voice tone, and learning how to inhibit your urges to do things that you later realize are contributing to the tensions.
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Author Topic: Mother-enmeshed men and BPD  (Read 227 times)
Sappho11
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Broken up
Posts: 141



« on: June 06, 2021, 04:31:12 AM »

Thank you to the poster who brought up the term "enmeshment" in one of their replies. I'd never heard of the term before but it has explained a lot of behaviours.

To those of you who've known a mother-enmeshed man (MEM) or have been in a relationship with one, how did you know it was BPD and not enmeshment? I understand there is a considerable overlap between behaviours, and from what I gather familial enmeshment is often a precursor to developing BPD.

How did you differentiate between the two? How did enmeshment manifest in your ex-partner? Did they ever see the light and work on themselves? What early signs did you see?
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Cromwell
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2021, 03:53:47 AM »

Enmeshment can also lead to narcissism. 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www3.nd.edu/~dlapsle1/Lab/Articles%2520%26%2520Chapters_files/Lapsley%2520Stey%2520Sep-Ind_1.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwi1heWkiIXxAhUgA2MBHRjLBVoQFjALegQICRAC&usg=AOvVaw2dj2hwB85u1HoBtrwxlh10

My bpd ex would refer to her mother in very infantile ways. For instance in her. Phone she was labeled 'mama bear' i saw by chance and said 'that's cute' but she became tense and heightened aware that id noticed.

She said the reason she couldn't move in with me is that she can't ever leave her mother. Beyond a few nights and staying in phone contact.

Later on she expanded to tell me 'i will never have a relationship'

Which made me question wtf I was and what for those years i had been. Very devalued and underappreciated. To the point of feeling she was talking out loud to herself at times.

Maybe there is a specific resource on MEM, im sure there will be im not aware of it {im not a psychologist}. From the link i gave i read some of Mahler text with interest.

Hope this is of interest. Im not a psychologist so proceed on that basis and take what i say as layman interpretation.
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Sappho11
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Relationship status: Broken up
Posts: 141



« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2021, 04:47:15 AM »

Enmeshment can also lead to narcissism. 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www3.nd.edu/~dlapsle1/Lab/Articles%2520%26%2520Chapters_files/Lapsley%2520Stey%2520Sep-Ind_1.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwi1heWkiIXxAhUgA2MBHRjLBVoQFjALegQICRAC&usg=AOvVaw2dj2hwB85u1HoBtrwxlh10

My bpd ex would refer to her mother in very infantile ways. For instance in her. Phone she was labeled 'mama bear' i saw by chance and said 'that's cute' but she became tense and heightened aware that id noticed.

She said the reason she couldn't move in with me is that she can't ever leave her mother. Beyond a few nights and staying in phone contact.

Later on she expanded to tell me 'i will never have a relationship'

Which made me question wtf I was and what for those years i had been. Very devalued and underappreciated. To the point of feeling she was talking out loud to herself at times.

Maybe there is a specific resource on MEM, im sure there will be im not aware of it {im not a psychologist}. From the link i gave i read some of Mahler text with interest.

Hope this is of interest. Im not a psychologist so proceed on that basis and take what i say as layman interpretation.

Thank you for the link, Cromwell, very interesting. Thank you also for your assessment and adding your own experience. It didn't occur to me that women might be enmeshed with their mothers, too, but it makes sense.

The infantile remark is interesting. Long before I started dating my ex, he once said something in an unwarranted baby voice, and I remember feeling a cold shudder and being glad that to see him leave that day. That moment stuck with me long after.

Lesson learnt (once again): Bad things happen when we override our intuition.
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pursuingJoy
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Inlaw
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2021, 01:04:17 PM »

sappho my H is enmeshed with his BPD mom, exacerbated by the fact that she lost her only other son 20 years ago and her husband 10 years ago. My H is all she has left.

It was cute at first, I guess. They were so close. She absolutely fell over herself when she was around me, saying I was the only person H had dated that she'd ever liked. She wanted to move in with us when we got married.

It started getting weird. When she visited, H would disappear, probably because enmeshment sucks and it was his way of escaping, hoping I'd deal with her. She would follow me like a puppy around the house. Everywhere.

I learned that they kissed on the mouth when no one else in the family does it. H knows other people see this as weird but "it's just what we do."

She would announce that I was doing things for her, without asking or checking. H thought this was normal.

She has conditioned him to be super defensive of her. After a little spat with a neighbor that hurt her feelings, he fumed for days and completely wrote them off.

When I didn't return her aggressive adoration, she rekindled her relationship with the formerly hated ex wife and called me by the ex-wife's name for a year and a half. H would say, "She can't help it, that's just her, she has memory issues."

If he doesn't call her every day, she freaks out and he gets anxious - he WANTS to talk to her every day.

The one thing that sunk in and finally made him realize that maybe somethin was off: he blew the transmission in his truck, and although she is in another City on a fixed (generous) income, his first call was to his mom to tell her what happened and because he knew that she would offer to pay for it. (The money enmeshment was another story.) When I asked why he didn't call me, he looked confused and said he didn't know. I believed him. For some reason, none of the other behavior I'd pointed out meant anything, but this struck a nerve and even he thought it was strange.

We were in marriage counseling at the time and most of the conversation was centered on his poor boundaries with his mom. He has since realized that he needs to prioritize differently and set better boundaries. I have also had to step back from the desire to control him/them. Because I value feeling safe in my own home, and she has an uncanny ability to create chaos, one of my boundaries is that I don't want her to stay overnight in my house. I've made the effort to go see her numerous times but she refuses to visit us, as she is insulted.  

He is afraid of and will deny his own anger (very common for MEM's) and he is unable to identify a range of emotions.

He critiques two former SO's for being too enmeshed with their moms. I've always found that funny.

At one point he told me his mom was his best friend, always would be and I shouldn't try to change that. He retracted some of that later, realizing how it sounded.

In some ways he is a great husband. He is affectionate and attentive and caring and kind and thoughtful and hard working. He sometimes wants to be mothered (ew, no) and I've sometimes gone along with mothering (ew, no).

I do think there can be overlap between enmeshment and BPD, mostly around boundaries. BPD is unique in that the person is unable to regulate emotions. My H exhibits the effects of enmeshment with a BPD mom and really horrible coping habits learned from her, but he also exhibits the ability to receive critique, adjust behavior, remain calm, and regulate emotion. His mom cannot do any of those things.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 01:12:15 PM by pursuingJoy » Logged

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