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Enmeshment characterizes a family type or structure that exhibits a disturbance in the formation of interpersonal boundaries, which, in these types of families, tend to be overly permeable. Members of the nuclear family seem unable to demarcate boundaries between themselves and vis-à-vis their families of origin. The roles of parent and child are not firmly established, change frequently and haphazardly, and an organizational structure and hierarchy within the family are lacking.

Definition extracted with permission from Simon, Fritz, et al, Family Process, Inc.: Language of Family Therapy: A Systemic Vocabulary and Source Book (Family Process Press Series)


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