Enmeshment and Codependency: Just One Big Dysfunctional Family
For enslaved black Africans and us, their descendants, traditions based upon race, not culture, were begun. And this is where our psychological journey and healing begins. Connectedness based solely on race was inflicted upon the enslaved Africans, and it continues unabated for us. Ironically, blackness has been both a rallying cry and a death knell for those choosing to be all they can be-daring even to exist beyond the constrictions of color.
Black People’s variance is between those who choose to move forward (black advancers) and those who choose to wait for deliverance (black delayers).
Black Americans are not a single, invariant group, but self-defined, unique individuals. Distinctions exist just as they do in other races. Black persons are variant.
Enmeshment refers to relationships between persons, families, and groups that become over involved and interlaced. Enmeshment among the Black American population had led to positive and negative effects upon our community and our individual psyches.
Codependence is similar to enmeshment in that persons are overinvolved in the relationship, however, an important distinction exists. People who are codependent, are subject to manipulation and/or control by another's pathology.
Much of our identity as black people has been racial and is rooted in enslavement and oppression. Psychologically, this has been an assault that negated the multiplicity of black egos, black psyches, and black selves-multiplicities that we are only now beginning to consider and permit each other.
The most critical and pressing issue facing black Americans today is our need to become individuals-to release ourselves from our racial yokes marks the end of our centuries-long journey toward freedom. We must learn to separate-to deindividuate.