In this two part episode we hear the powerful stories of three anonymous guests who reflect on their experiences in enmeshed family systems. Enmeshed families characteristically lack boundaries with each other and experience the faith crisis or differentiation (the point at which individuals begin to see themselves differently from their families or church) of their loved ones as problematic. The result can be social shunning and shaming. My three guests, Lacey, Paula and Delilah come from three different contexts but agree that their differentiation has been painful for all concerned. But they each come to surprisingly compassionate and soulful conclusions.
In the second part I speak with Manhattan based clinician Wendy Christian about the theory of enmeshed family systems and differentiation. Differentiation we conclude is natural, normal and to be expected. There has been much made recently of the Mormon Stages of Faith Development (as discussed by Thomas McConkie) and for those interested in why the transition from one stage to the next is not as smooth as they would like, this discussion will hopefully be useful.