The Opposite of Enmeshment is not Avoidance
Dec 23, 2021
Relationally avoidant behaviors are not the opposite of enmeshment, they are just a different manifestation of it.
If you don’t know what grounded, differentiated presence looks like, it can be easy to mistake the cool distance of avoidance for healthy differentiation.
But that is far from what it truly is.
Avoidance stems just as much from lack of a solid sense of self as anxious behaviors.
If you withdraw from intimacy out of fear of being hurt, rejected, or enveloped by your partner, that says that your sense of yourself is tenuous enough that closeness with another puts it in jeopardy.
The mark of healthy differentiation is the ability to keep close, intimate contact while retaining a sense of yourself as a distinct individual. It is a dual, concurrent experience.
It is not a cycle of hot and cold. It is not withdrawal.
It is presence.