Enmeshment? (possible triggers)

Seeking Truths

New Registrant
I have not yet confronted my mother about my recollection of her abuse she perpetrated on me. The reasons why are:

(1) I am concerned about hurting her feelings or how she would react, which, I know, is evidence of enmeshment; and
(2) accused, she would deny it, attempt to write it off as some bipolar delusion, then in general invalidate me. Then she would invoke the Mormon notions of "guilt and shame" on me, and then refuse to take my calls, leaving me no recourse except to write off the possibility of closure; and
(3) One or two of my memories are quite clear, and the pattern of her attempting but the others are fuzzy. However, I cannot be sure they actually happened. I am hesitant to accuse anyone of abuse based on fuzzy memories, even if all evidence points to its occurrence.

Normally, I would break down a pink elephant that was so upsetting to me. I've done this with my dad about some things. But forcing the issues upon my mother seems frightening. I'm actually feeling dizzy writing this.

I have some possible solutions in mind, but I would rather participants relate to me their own experiences solving this issue.

Hi S.T.

While I am not a survivor of female perpetrated abuse, I think that there are some cardinal rules, or guidelines that apply to just about every situation when a survivor confronts an abuser.

First, do it only when you feel strong enough to do so. That means that you yourself have the mental and emotional strength to meet the situation head on, having taken into account the various possible outcomes. It doesn't sound to me that you are ready to do that yet, due to the acknowledged enmeshment and the possible fallout.

Second. Make sure you have a safety net, or support system in place to support you before, during and after. Perps are well skilled at turning the tables on survivors. We all need support through this crucial time, and to fly solo into this storm, in my opinion, is a written invitation for disaster.

Third. Make sure you have your facts straight. Any sign of indecision on your part can and will be used against you by those accused. It may be worth doing a fair amount of work with a T, if you have one. If you don't have a T, you might want to consider getting one if you can, to assist you in sorting out the fuzzy stuff, and helping you determine what the reality is. This can take time to accomplish. Use this time to your advantage.

Fourth. Decide what you expect to accomplish, or get out of confrontation. Is it going to be a simple one way communication, or do you anticipate, or even invite dialogue? How you frame this now may have a big impact on the outcome. Think it through.

Last, but certainly not least. Stay safe. Do not put yourself in any danger when and if you decide to move ahead with this. Look for ways to get out. Assess your immediate physical environment for any potential dangers. Again, having a support person with you if you decide to do this will help you to stay safe.

Only you can decide how, when, and where you will confront your abuser. I am not suggesting you go ahead with this. I am simply attempting to answer your question by pointing out important areas for your consideration. My abuser has been dead for a number of years, and well before I recognized what he did to me. I don't know if I would waste my breath on him or not. But, in hindsight, I sure would like to have had the choice.

Stay cool, take your time, think it through. Do what is right for you.

seeking truth...I understand completely. I too am struggling with confrontation and share your concerns.

i am making progress though. I did some role playing with my T where she reacted as we thought my mother would...it was VERY powerful...VERY.

I also started writing her a letter (without the intention of actually sending it)...again, a VERY powerful exercise...in fact, i have not finished the letter as i keep starting and stopping...but i realize it is important to do.

You might want to try some of the above before actually confronting...think of all the possible responses you could get and how they would make you feel...though in all likelihood, you will not get the response that you were expecting / hoping to get.

as geeders said, it is important to feel safe when you do actually make the confrontation...you might want to have a third party with you or neaby to give you an "escape" route...

the bottom line is that preparation is required.
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Seeking Truths

New Registrant
"You cannot bend the spoon. That's impossible. The truth is, there is no spoon. It is only your mind that bends."

Point 1. Point taken. I am not ready for a confrontation. I'm wobbly after a serious psychiatric incident last week and am just now regaining some strength. This occurred after my mother/niece came to visit a few weeks back. The consensus was Mom's visit triggered me.

Give me a few months--maybe January--I can confront if necessary.

Points 3. and 4. are intertwined in my situation.

I have enough facts dead-on that are irrefutable, mostly because they have been confirmed by third parties. "The fuzzy stuff" probably isn't worth going after any more.

What will I gain from confronting her? Iterating through possible actions and likely outcomes, most are self-serving and aggressive. This moment, I can only think of one outcome that is not self-serving, and that is confronting her gently to improve her self-knowledge and our relationship.

I have already accomplished this before regarding her denial of her father's alcoholism. She didn't freak, she hung in there, and we maintained our relationship. Perhaps after this she and I could rebuild a relationship on healthy ground. However, I will be ready to bankrupt the relationship, which would be nonoptimal but OK.

However, before I attempt confrontation, I need to know what to do about enmeshment. It's interfering with many aspects of my life. It needs to stop.

I have a psychiatrist/therapist session on 7 Sept 2009, 9:00 a.m. We have been working together for ten years. However, the notion of enmeshment and how to break it hasn't come up.

I think it's time to start working on enmeshment. I'm sure my psych doc will have some ideas. If you or anyone else do I am open to them.

I am, as always, improving my psychic strength and seeking out new strategies for self-improvement.

Thank you.


trigger warning: my mother had a terrible childhood, including abuse inside and outside the home. She never dealt with it. She never physically touched me. In fact she just never did, I wonder if it was because she was afraid of abuse, or just so screwed up emotionally. But she mentally incested me - you guessed it - form age 6 through age 16. She would go into another state, another person (introjects? DID?) and tell me in vivid detail about all sorts of bizarre/kinky sex practices.

I starte to verbally spar with her, swear at her, and generally make things unpleasant from when when I was 14 until she died wheb I was 44. But I never confronted those things directly. With a lot of work and time, I have been able to be clinical about the whole thing. I do no know if I should or should not have confronted her. I think as it was said above, you must take time to look at it as clearly as you can from both sides, and determine what you should do.

Good luck,