Nous
The family entangled

The family entangled

I have had the opportunity several times to observe how many people find themselves inside entangled families, unfortunately without realizing it. Growing up in an entangled family means suffering an excess of concern and protection, where any attempt to differentiate and separate the members is discouraged or held up as treason. The boundaries between the various members in this type of family are not clear, often the parent sees the child as an extension of himself and this is highly harmful.

In fact, especially in certain crucial phases of life, one of the members of the family, generally one of the children, tries to free himself from it, to separate from it and take his own life in hand.


In a healthy family, all this is usually encouraged, well seen and a source of growth and maturity. In an entangled family this will be punctually prevented, in various and subtle ways, such as for example giving rise to a person who tries to free himself from a great sense of guilt. And this is how sometimes a parent prevents a child from maturing, holding him back and discouraging him. It should be noted that the parent does not do this consciously, does not do it deliberately to harm the child, but is motivated by internal motivations of which he is not aware. He sees the child as an extension of himself and the possible separation / individuation of the child would undermine the parent’s sense of self. It may happen that you begin to experience malaise, a symptom such as an anxiety attack for example. This symptom has a very specific task, that is to allow the family to come closer together to avoid the danger that one of the members may become detached. It seems paradoxical, the family that should encourage and support our growth and identification, sometimes does nothing but harm us.

Then it can also happen that the person who is prevented from detaching himself from the family, begins to show symptoms, depressive or psychosomatic for example, which are the expression of a deeper malaise, of that life whose wings have been corked.

And it is here that the “destructive” family picture is completed. Immutability gives reassurance to the whole family, everyone respects their role, parents are in control, belonging is assured and change is averted. The entangled family fears change, it would affect their sense of self and their sense of belonging, it would be an unsustainable upheaval. Usually the members are completely unaware of these mechanisms, but, fortunately, sometimes one of them manages to realize the destructiveness of certain dynamics and, without a few sufferings and sacrifices, manages to free himself from the family in order to finally grow and flourish in autonomous way.